'CFO' Magazine Kept Honoring CFOs, Who Kept Getting Arrested
For more than 30 years, there's been a monthly magazine called CFO, all about—and catering to—chief financial officers. That sounds like a joke, right up there with Dean Magazine from Community (a magazine that shut down after just two issues, because Dean Magazine was a terrible idea for a magazine). But the world has a whole lot of companies with CFOs, and if even a small chunk of them subscribe to CFO, that's a fine business model right there.
In 1998, the magazine put together its annual Excellence Awards, recognizing CFOs skilled not just in finance but also in leadership and creativity. In the mergers and acquisitions category, they gave the award to Scott Sullivan, the CFO of WorldCom. WorldCom went on to experience a $4 billion fraud scandal, the then-largest bankruptcy filing in history, and its CFO Scott Sullivan getting sentenced to five years in prison.
In 1999, in the capital structure management category, the magazine gave its Excellence award to Enron CFO Andrew Fastow. Enron also went through the largest bankruptcy filing in history (later overtaken by WorldCom). Fastow was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in cooking the company's books.
In 2000, the magazine gave the Excellence award for mergers and acquisitions to Mark Swartz, the CFO of Tyco. Swartz and the Tyco CEO stole $150 million from the company, and Swartz went to prison in 2005 and was paroled in 2013. On top of that, their shenanigans had defrauded investors so much the company had to pay $3 billion in a class-action lawsuit.
In 2001, CFO magazine decided that, perhaps, it would be best if it stopped giving CFOs awards in excellence.
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