Iceland jails 26 bankers with a total of 75 years jailed timed combined, while banks in the other side of the world typically get a bailout. The 2000 and then 2007/8 financial crisis left many people poorer and bank leaders wealthier with not enough impact felt on CorporateGovernance, BusinessEthics and ConsequensesOfMisconduct. Organizations' performance will fluctuate with the tides of their risk drivers. However, those with the responsibility to lead are accountable for the decisions made.
When these decisions are made while clearly not being in favour of critical stakeholders, leaders are to be held just as accountable just as much. There are instances in companies when whether or not there is dividend to shareholders in a given year there is still profit sharing, even if it marginal (even though marginal can be translated as $$millions though depending on the size of the company) and only to board members. With that in mind, board members should not be allowed to walk away from bad days as much as they don't walk away from good days.
Vested interest in organization today is far beyond the shareholders' investment only, but instead to also include the interest of those others impacted by the decisions. Those who without their support the business would not thrive, the communities that bear the negative impact of the company's operations and many other who as much as they can cause the business to rise in years, without them in a day the business can fail. In 2015 two contrasting approaches to addressing accountability. BPs 2010 oil spill sees them "agreeing" to pay $18.7 billion from its captive to settle all federal and state claims arising from the oil spill claims. $18.7 is a drop in the bucket from BPs annual profit. Even more so, it all works in their favour, considering that the captive is a more advantageous insurance scheme since it is self insurance and you can invest and make profits form it unlike normal insurance when you transfer the risk by paying over money to an insurance company to cover possible losses.
Alternately, the world applauds Iceland for holding corporate leaders accountable in 2015 as this sends a message. "You could ice skate in Hell sooner than see the United States follow in Iceland's footsteps with this move: the 26th banker was just sentenced to prison for a combined 74 years between them — each of them jailed for their roles in the 2008 economic collapse", outlines The Activist. Reflection is needed on some countries stands on Corporate Governance and Accountability.
Corporate Governance has come a long way since 2000 with the corporate governance standards and guidelines, however it needs to become law with respect to accountability, to protect stakeholders if leaders continue to simply walk away like fated cow while the stakeholders lose. Thanks to Cadbery in 1992 for the kick start standardising to corporate governance guidelines, followed by several others. Enron- and WorldCom type of accounting scandals proved that more was needed, as they created the flagship for "Too Big To Fail", being applicable to the Board members and not the organization. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 nipped these accountability volcanic breaches. But today, corporate governance breaches continue to show the gaps in accountability for leadership if we observe since since 2007 in the financial meltdown. The organizations fail while the leaders continue to walk away, paying very little for their actions.
However, the lack of sufficient accountability and responsibility for decisions made in corporate giants are allowed due to a high factor being, the corporate governance standards and guidelines are what they are, standards and guidelines, not laws. Therefore based on the trends of corporate governance culture in some countries that are higher on the Transparency Index based on ethics in decision making, the leaders don't resign nor most times don't openly accept responsibility for their lack of accountability because the law does not stipulate a penalty for corporate governance beaches.
Thumbs up to some territories that are typically more vocal and display a behavior of not accepting breaches in corporate governance. Iceland didn't just talk but also acted. Market manipulation is being accounted for in court among other accountability charges. Other countries can follow. I learnt at about age 16 when I began leadership roles in high school, the responsibility I had to those I lead. Whether it was the decision of those i lead or mine that caused a question of undesired results, I learnt that I had to take responsibility as there were more persons depending on me than I actually realised. We won't always get it right, however by standing and explaining and moving further to teach the corrective measures when things go wrong(which is what the corporate governance stipulates by the way), you are more respected as a leader instead of abdicating your responsibility when you are at the helm.
Laws are needed to protect stakeholders more and hold leaders more accountable. Leaders are accountable for bad as much as good actions! You are better off standing alone doing what is right than standing with the crowd being wrong. In the end, your leadership will be remembered in history and your name will be remembered on your own decisions, not with the crowd. Hats off to Iceland; it all starts with one person/country.