bad-boys.jpgI’ve written extensively about the lack of women board members in Corporate America but I’m especially peeved this morning about the problem.

Turns out the guys who sit on boards today — and we’re talking about 95 percent men who hold these powerful positions — aren’t there because they’re any great shakes. In fact, quite a few of them are actually unprincipled.

There’s a great piece in the New York Times by Andrew Ross Sorkin today titled “‘Tainted,’ But Sheltered On Boards,” that looks at why some men who’ve been disgraced in their fields for a host of reasons are still sitting on the nation’s top boards.

These are seats that someone with integrity should hold, and I would argue that these bad boys should be replaced with good girls. Clearly, women have proven themselves as potentially more ethical than men when it comes to ethics and business.

So many studies show that women in the work world are more likely to be looking out for the common good, and are more likely to be whistleblowers. “Women aren’t as sensitive as men to status in the workplace. And when you’re not as committed to the hierarchy, you can see the ramifications a little better,” said Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D., author of “The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World,” in a story by Connie Glaser in BizJournals.

And Fred Alford, author of Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power, added in the article, that

another factor that makes women statistically more likely to speak out and fight for what they believe in is that they typically have one foot firmly planted in another world: the family. This, he says, connects them to a different way of thinking. “In fact, when they bring that model of ethics into an organization, it must put a lot of women through hell.”

brita.jpgIndeed, in the recent spending scandal with the General Services Administration, it was a woman, GSA staffer Susan Brita, who first requested the investigation.

What prompted the Sorkin column today was a letter from one institutional investor calling for the ouster of James A. Johnson, a former chief executive of Fannie Mae, from Goldman Sachs board.

He writes:

It may be surprising that the former chief of Fannie Mae still remains the director of a public company as prominent as Goldman Sachs and Target. But perhaps more surprising, many other executives who had tumultuous reigns are also board members of major public companies: Charles O. Prince III, the former chief executive of Citigroup, who resigned under pressure in 2007 amid huge write-downs at the bank, is a director of Xerox and Johnson & Johnson. E. Stanley O’Neal, the former chief executive of Merrill Lynch on whose watch the firm loaded up on subprime debt that almost bankrupted the company, is a director of the aluminum giant Alcoa.

And a number of other prominent executives could soon be added to that head-scratching list. Eduardo Castro-Wright, a vice chairman at Wal-Mart Stores who oversaw the company’s Mexico unit and was identified by a former executive there as being part of a bribery scandal that was recently uncovered by The New York Times, is a director at MetLife.

It really is a head-scratcher, especially when you consider all the good gals waiting in the wings for their board seats.

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