When serious corruption, fraud or illegal activities are exposed in an organisation, should the top dog resign, even if they allege they were unaware of the offences?
Bill Trueman CEO of www.ukfraud.co.uk says:
“Yes but not always.... life is never that simple! Even if the 'top dog' doesn't set the fraud agenda, and has no prior knowledge of the corrupt or fraudulent practices, they still have to go as there is always an assumption of responsibility at the top. However, a good leader will make sure that their business team has fraud prevention tools, such as payment, audit and stock controls et. al. in place. Thus, the good leader should rarely see and experience such corruption or fraud. However. If the leader does not drive such disciplines into the business, then their leadership is poor AND he or she MUST go if that leadership comes under scrutiny when fraud is discovered.
The biggest exception to this rule include; new leaders, who are trying to implement the right infrastructure, which will always take time to put in place. The judges in these cases must be independent non-executive directors, chairmen or shareholders; who should always also be in place in a supervisory oversight role.
Sometimes culpability stretches much further than 'the one at the top', and could include a broader base of stakeholders – shareholders etc The Ministry of Defence might well see one of the causes for losing over £6bn as potentially the result of a very large fraud, but we'd never hold the Queen liable...would we?”