“The only bad publicity is no publicity” applies to freak shows in which a geek (a sideshow performer, not a computer expert) bites the head off a live chicken. The Bank of New York, Merck, and Verizon, on the other hand, need to question seriously whether they want the kind of publicity they have gotten from Karen Peetz’s, Kenneth Frazier’s, and Dan Mead’s performances on Penn State’s board of trustees.
Peetz’s affirmation of the Freeh report’s findings on Penn State’s behalf, in violation of the board’s standing orders, and in her capacity as chairwoman, gave the NCAA the excuse it needed to impose sanctions its own emails now show to be illegitimate.
The Commonwealth Court later cited the board’s controlling majority (including Frazier and Peetz) as derelict in its fiduciary duty for failing to challenge these sanctions.
Frazier also affirmed the Freeh report, and his infamous public tirade of March 2013 undermines Merck’s status as an equal opportunity employer.
A CEO’s racially charged remark about “people that look like you” is potential ammunition for an EEO lawsuit regardless of the suit’s justification.
Mead has, upon joining the board this year, voted consistently to support Chairman Keith Masser’s whitewash of the board’s past mistakes.
BNY, Merck and Verizon should ask these individuals to either leave the board, or else remove their company affiliations from their trustee biographies.
Disclosure: I am a shareholder in both Merck and Verizon as well as a Penn State alumnus.
William A. Levinson