Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Business Ethics revisited

The Chief Executive of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, John Scott has resigned after accepting gifts and hospitality from potential suppliers - see here.

I have no idea of the extent of these gifts, or hospitality - only one instance is referred to by the BBC article. However after the problems in Dehli in 2010 it is essential that 2014 is squeeky clean. Glasgow has had a bad image in the past for perceived public sector corruption, and 2014 will need to ensure that the highest possible standards are met in order to overcome that image. Whether it is deserved or not, is not the point. The point is that the Games are to showcase Glasgow, and to a lesser extent Scotland and the rest of the UK, and therefore need to able to come through repeated and intense scrutiny with no blemishes.

This is difficult because the process of identifying sponsors requires a great deal of "shmoozing" and relationship building to encourage the sponsors to contribute hard cash. However the line between sponsors, supporters and suppliers can be quite blurred in major sporting events - and companies move from being one to being another quite often.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this particular case it was right for John Scott to go - regardless of his past contribution to the Games, in the future he media would not let go of this incident, and would concentrate on identifying other potential wrong doing. The contagion has to stop at the first point.

The fact that with a year to go before the London 2012 Olympics we are not seeing this sort of story about them is testiment to their hard work in establishing and maintaining standards of business ethics. But many a slip between cup and lip.

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