26 May 2010

Pinnacol CEO Still Stupid

Pinnacol, a government chartered company that is the leading provider of worker's compensation coverage in Colorado and spent much of the 2009 legislative arguing that it isn't overcompensating executives and deserved more independence, just shot itself in the foot with a Pebble Beach golf trip for its board.

The trip was captured by hidden cameras belonging to TV channel 7News, prompting bipartisan legislative calls for the board members involved to resign, in addition to a call for their resignation from Governor Ritter, who appointed them.

"I'm very disappointed that the Pinnacol board chose to behave like they did, particularly coming off the heels of the legislative session we have just been through," said Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.

Steadman said he was also surprised that [CEO Ken] Ross would be so upset about cameras capturing his golf outing when Pinnacol private investigators use hidden cameras to try to track people on worker's compensation when Pinnacol believes are faking injuries. He pointed out Pinnacol opposed a bill that would have limited their use of tracking workers with cameras.

CEO Ken Ross threatened "to physically assault [7NEWS reporter] Kovaleski several times, having to be restrained by assistants and ultimately led away from the scene. He threatened to break Kovaleski's finger on camera."

The public has had enough of waste by big business executives, and it is far less tolerable when their bosses are governmental entities because they are government chartered entities (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for example), or have lost control of their companies due to government bailouts.

Also, any big business CEO who loses his temper and gets violent on camera doesn't deserve to keep his job. The CEO is the public face of a company, and any CEO worth his salt knows that losing your cool on camera is never the right choice. Competent CEOs behave like adults, not like spoiled, angry teenagers.

7News also deserves credit for going beyond the police blotter to uncover a story the shows corporate wrongdoing, a rarity in local TV journalism. Perhaps the void created by half hearted monopoly newspaper reporting has emboldened them.

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