What If the CEO of a Major Corporation Learned of Scandal in His Ranks Through the Press, Like Obama Did on the IRS?

President Barack Obama. (Getty Images)

According to the President of the United States, he learned of the IRS scandal last Friday in the same manner as every other American, through the media. His first reaction was outrage that something of this manner could occur in the U.S and more importantly under his watch.

What is outrageous is that the chief executive of the most powerful country in the world was informed about one of the biggest scandals of his five years in office via the boob tube. If that does not outrage you because you feel it is difficult for the president to keep track of everything that goes on in this country, you are naïve. But do not fret, I have more information to get you to outrage status.

The source of the press release that all media outlets ran on Friday was a public statement from one of Obama’s own “people”. This means that the IRS knew of the issue and put out a statement for every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the world. But, they just happened to forget to alert the President of the United States before the information became public?

Scenario One

If you believe what the administration has been spewing about not having knowledge of the IRS scandal before the rest of us than you reside in the naïve camp. I find it almost impossible to comprehend the president does not learn of the scandal before Friday. There is no solid proof of this, yet. But, I would not be surprised that in the next few months more reports leak out that top-level administration officials knew of scandal months before the president supposedly got wind of it.

Scenario Two

There are many people, including myself, that whole-heartedly do not believe that Obama had no prior knowledge of the IRS scandal before Friday. How is it possible a man in that position does not know about such a damning scandal that will rock his administration and possibly taint his second term?

For a president that campaigned on transparency on all levels, how does he not have knowledge of such a large-scale scandal unraveling during the critical campaign season? Or did he choose to turn and look the other way in hopes that last Friday would never arrive?

Obama as CEO

The majority of Americans agree that the president is the chief executive of the United States. And that is because that is in fact one of his roles. I want to assume for one minute that the country is run as if it is a publicly traded corporation and Obama is the CEO of this great company.

If Obama was the CEO of a corporation and he learned of a major scandal at his company through the media, what would the reaction be? First of all, it would result in an intense investigation that would lead to heads rolling and accountability from the perpetrators. And when I reference heads rolling, I am alluding to high-level personnel, not two low-level employees that are currently taking the brunt of the blame for the far-reaching IRS scandal.

Sure, the head of the IRS did step down on Wednesday, but there is no way in my opinion this was a two-man job that results in one person falling on the sword for the entire administration.

Let’s turn to the real world for examples of recent high profile CEO firings of U.S. corporations. J.C. Penney recently fired their CEO, Ron Johnson, after only 17 months on the job. The ex-Apple employee that turned the iconic maker of iPhones into a retail giant was brought in to turn around the flailing J.C. Penney. There was no scandal involved, but the strategy failed and he is out of a job.

Then there was the infamous firing of Leo Apothekar as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO in 2011 after only 11 months on the job. The head of the board of directors had this to say the day Apothekar was being fired, “We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy…”.

When I read that quote there is an eerily similar image that appears in my mind – it is of Obama at the podium making excuses for not leading our country in this critical moment.

Both situations were a result of the wrong man for the job and the end result was both individuals in the unemployment line. Why then, should Obama not be held to the same standard? Or even a higher standard due to the importance of his job and the magnitude of the scandals?

Obama can breathe a sigh of relief because unless he is impeached, the president is guaranteed four years at the head of the executive table when he was elected last year. In the real world the chief executive of a multi-billion dollar corporation that makes widgets does not have the same luxury.

Unfair Comparison

Many on the left will have the initial reaction that the comparison between the president of the most powerful nation in the world and a CEO of a publicly traded, for-profit company is not fair and possibly far-fetched. I beg to differ. But, for arguments sake I will go with that thesis for a moment.

Assuming the president is on a different level than the typical CEO, this is even more of a reason why he needs to know all pertinent news about the US before the media.

It is inexcusable for a CEO to find out about one of his products being recalled on the nightly news just as it is inexcusable for the president to learn about the IRS scandal at the same time as Aunt Mildred in her rocking chair in Wichita.

Where Now?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the next few months will be a circus as the Obama administration deflects all responsibility for the IRS scandal. And at the end of the day the likelihood of someone high up in the administration going down is minimal. Even though I believe this scandal goes all the way to the top.

If the same situation occurred at a public company the board of directors would research the situation and the outcome would be Obama looking for work or writing another book to sell his side of the story.

What I find most troubling about the recent trio of scandals (IRS, Benghazi, and AP) is the lack of leadership from the chief executive of the United States. A successful CEO and leader come to the forefront to solve situations and make sure they do not happen again.

A true leader does not point fingers at its predecessors. Nor does a true leader always deflect the crux of the problem toward someone other than himself.

Our country is at a critical moment in our history and we need a true leader to step up to the podium.

Unfortunately I doubt our current “Chief Executive” has the ability to step up and give our country what it needs.