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Sex and the C-Suite: The Trump Video Would Get Most CEOs Ousted

bloomberg.com

Donald Trump says he wants to run America like a business. But if America were a public company, Trump probably would be ousted as its chief executive officer after his recent vulgar remarks about women caught on tape.

While Trump’s supporters may be willing to write off his talk about making unwanted sexual advances as locker-room banter, corporate boards have been much less forgiving to top officials who engaged in arguably less crude behavior that could paint the company in a bad light or put it at legal risk.

“Any CEO who got caught making the kind of comments Trump did would be out the door in 24 hours,” said Pat Cook, CEO of Cook & Co., a boutique executive-search firm in Bronxville, New York.

It isn’t that the mostly male, mostly white realm of C-suite America is puritanical: A litany of corporate scandals proves otherwise. It’s that modern corporations operate in a world with hard rules about behavior, particularly in the office. As Human Resources tells everyone: Sexist and sexually aggressive speech, let alone sexist and sexually aggressive behavior, can be grounds for dismissal. The threats -- to reputation, worker retention, recruitment and even the bottom line -- are too high to tolerate.

“No one wants the public relations, and no one wants the liability,” said Wendi Lazar, a partner with law firm Outten & Golden.

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