Mr. Cosby and Mr. Wynn are among a string of well-known men accused of sexual assault or harassment, forcing colleges to reconsider tributes like honorary degrees, which are often bestowed on celebrities and business leaders with the hope of spurring major donations.
The university announced the decisions a week after reports emerged that Mr. Wynn, a Penn alumnus and former trustee, had frequently demanded naked massages from female employees, sometimes pressuring them for sex, in one case leading to a $7.5 million legal settlement.
Two years after declining to rescind Mr. Cosby’s honor, the university changed its mind on Thursday, but only after deciding to strip the casino mogul Steve Wynn’s name from an prominent campus plaza and a scholarship, and to take back his own honorary degree.February 2, 2018
New York Times
“Corporate names are resilient: when their images get damaged, a change of management or strategy will often revive their fortunes. But personal reputations are fragile: mess with them and it can be fatal.” (Gapper, FT, 8/3/16
“Personal reputations are fragile: mess with them and it can be fatal.”
Reputation risk: It is always personal in the C-suite and boardroom.
Reputations are valuable strategic intangible assets. Threats to these assets⏤ enterprise reputation risks, often mislabeled “brand risks” ⏤ need to be managed, and management needs to be overseen through reputation risk governance lest reputational damage or reputational harm result in long-tailed go-forward losses in economic value and/or political power. Because these intangible risks arise from the interplay of stakeholder expectation, experiences, and media amplification, parametric insurances for intangible asset risks, for reputational value, for reputational harm, and for reputation assurance help mitigate risk by telling a simple, convincing and completely credible story of quality reputation governance to stakeholders. This story telling effect is the expressive power of insurance complementing insurance’s better known instrumental power of indemnification.
Reputation value is a strategic power companies use to sell more, faster, and at premium prices; and to obtain labor, vendor services, as well as capital on preferred terms.
Steel City Re mitigates the hazards of ESG (reputation) risk that threaten reputation value. We use parametric reputation insurances, ESG insurances, and risk management advisory services to make our clients reputationally resilient.
Risk management, risk financing in insurance captives, and risk transfer through reputation insurances comprise the constituent elements of a comprehensive Steel City Re reputation risk governance and management solution.
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Context and Background
Risk managers are now central to the process for managing risks to reputation and that’s a process marketers and communications professionals need to be a part of. The oversight of reputation risk management is mission-critical.
Courts have increasingly been ruling that reputation is a mission critical function and oversight of its management is a responsibility of the board of directors. Courts are also ruling that marketing statements companies make – if they related to issues that affect their reputation, like ESG – may be considered material by investors. Litigation along these lines has yielded large settlements or verdicts for plaintiffs.
And now, the SEC has proposed new rules requiring disclosures by public companies related to their ESG activities; those statements could become a communications and reputational minefield.
As a result, reputation risk management is evolving into an intelligence gathering operation spanning the entire enterprise, roping in the enterprise risk manager, compliance counsel, and increasingly, reporting up to the Chief Legal Officer. There is a growing recognition that reputation is not a product merely of marketing and media coverage, but of the degree to which stakeholders’ expectations are aligned with actual performance. The reputation risk management process requires a thorough and ongoing analysis of stakeholder expectations, the risks of disappointment, and a plan for either managing those expectations or assessing and insuring against the cost of failure.
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