Question of Character (HBR Case Study)
For teaching purposes, this is the case-only version of the HBR case study. The commentary-only version is reprint 99511Z. The complete case study and commentary is reprint 99511. For the most part, Glamor-a-Go-Go's board has been thrilled with CEO Joe Ryan's performance. Ryan, after all, had transformed the private-label cosmetics company into a retail powerhouse with flashy outlets from New York to Los Angeles. In addition to saving the company from bankruptcy shortly after his arrival in 1992, Ryan had made Glamor-a-Go-Go a fun and exciting place to work, increasing workers' wages and creating boundless opportunities for anyone willing to work hard and think out of the box. He had also brought more women and people of color on board. And he had made many employees wealthy, with generous stock giveaways and options for the most senior employees down to the most junior. Glamor-a-Go-Go's stock price had grown tenfold during Ryan's tenure. But Ryan's personal affairs were beginning to call into question his leadership abilities. The local paper's gossip column recently ran a photo of Ryan--a married man--leaving a gala event with a beautiful young woman from the company, with the headline "Who's That Girl?" Indeed, rumors about Ryan's philandering were starting to take on a harsher edge. Some people believed his secretary left because Ryan had sexually harassed her. Others believed a mailroom employee had been promoted to factory supervisor because of her affair with the CEO. Having warned Ryan several times about his alleged infidelities, the board is stuck. What should it do about Ryan's extracurricular behavior? Does Ryan's personal behavior even affect the company? Is what Ryan does outside the office the board's concern? In 99511 and 99511Z, commentators Freada Kapor Klein, Mitchell Kapor, Burke Stinson, Patrick Carnes, Daryl Koehn, and Lisa A. Mainiero offer advice on this fictional case study.