CEO as Context Executive Officer – CEO’s Can Face Jail Time – Part 2 of 3

By Thomas B. Cross @techtionary

Content in the form of context or meaning is so elusive we hardly understand each other much less what is being said across the media.  This becomes a critical dilemma for the CEO is writing and then distributing those words to the staff, public and others hungry to understand what the CEO is really doing.  The recent meltdown by Elon Musk cost him and the company $20 million each in fines by the SEC who said he issued “false and misleading” statements about Telsa.  This is where the issue gets complicated really fast and that every CEO is also at risk because the agreement with the SEC requires Tesla’s board will have “an obligation to oversee Musk’s communications with investors.”  What this really means and how Musk and the Tesla board will really do now becomes part of any further communication with the public.  Separately though not less important is this news story that 5 nations now demanding Mark Zuckerberg testify on Facebook’s data misuse.  According to CBS News, An unprecedented joint “international grand committee” of members of the U.K. and Canadian Parliaments investigating disinformation and online election influence campaigns has expanded to include Argentina, Australia and Ireland, according to a letter sent by elected leaders to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.


Essentially when a CEO takes on the world, the world fights back and ultimately power wins over money.  Facebook’s response was that Mark couldn’t be “available to all Parliaments.”  He better start learning how to be available to all Parliaments or be held in contempt which could mean jail should he want to visit one of these countries.  You wonder “what they are thinking” at Facebook when the act like a spoiled kid in kindergarten.  It is clear time for the kid to grow up and act responsibly.  In Musk’s case a $20 million is less important to him as a billionaire than the cost of a speeding ticket to you.  However, in each of these cases, they have awoken governmental forces which could lead to further regulation, action and worse disillusionment by their customers and stockholders which is potentially far worse. Reputations evaporate in nanoseconds in today’s social viral media society.  However, the interesting part is that there is great opportunity to “wade into deep waters” and gain back what was lost.  This is where there is a media crisis plan is essential.  As I have explained this concept in CEO as Crisis Executive Officer, today’s social media is 7×24 and like the fast-moving fires in California can wipe out an entire town before you know it.  The CEO crisis team much be as ready as any emergency “first responders” to any company crisis.

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