Ken and Steve Come Clean
Remember that grade school admonition, honesty is always the best policy?
A few high-profile CEOs appear to have forgotten that mantra this week or they simply believed that rule just didn't apply to them.
In both cases, each one looks stupid, or worse, just plain dishonest.
Lewis told his employees last October that Bank of America "did not need and did not seek" the $25 billion it received in federal rescue funds. A bold statement at the time, Lewis was hailed along with JPMorgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon as a savior of the banking business.
Lewis' boast that he could go it alone, however, was, in fact, a bald-faced lie. As reported in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, the knight in shining armor who singlehandedly rode in to save Merrill Lynch and Countrywide from certain disaster actually squealed for help a long time ago. The WSJ said that Lewis has been talking with the Treasury Department since mid-December about additional bailout dollars to complete the Merrill deal. Bank of America shares fell almost 20% on Thursday's news to $8.50.Jobs, on the other hand, requires medical, not governmental assistance. On Wednesday, the iconic Apple founder finally admitted in a letter to his employees that his "health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought" and would be stepping aside until June to recover. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will be responsible for Apple's day-to-day operations while he is away.
Jobs had pancreatic cancer in 2004, and last year he appeared gaunt in public appearances, leading to speculation about his wellness. In an effort to finally answer questions about his health, Jobs announced last week that a "hormone imbalance" had led to his dramatic weight loss, not the return of cancer. Apple shares shot up 4% on the news, despite a slew of doctors being openly skeptical of Jobs diagnosis.
Now, just days later, he says he'll step aside. Apple stock fell 5% on Jobs' disclosure.
Jobs' sickness, like Bank of America's balance sheet, prove once again that fibbers always get found out.
Dumb-o-meter score: 95 -- Trust your eyes, not CEOs.