Sunday, December 07, 2008


Recently J. Terrence Lanni resigned as the CEO of the MGM Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. He did so after The Wall Street Journal raised questions about whether he actually held an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California, as company publicity materials claimed he did. USC told the Journal that it had no record of his degree. Lanni said, however, that his resignation had nothing to do with the allegations.

More and more top executives are finding their academic credentials questioned. Do you think an executive should be asked to resign if it is discovered that he or she has listed false academic information on a resume?

Post your thoughts here by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below. Please include your name, hometown, and state, province, or country. Readers' comments may appear in an upcoming column. Or e-mail your comments to me at

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Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2008 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)


Anonymous said...

If a CEO lies on a resume, why would you trust this same person with confidential company information, expense accounts, etc.?
I work for a small company and when hired, all employees go through a thorough background check - credit check (we manage expense accounts), DMV (we drive company vehicles), and all claims to college degrees, work experience, etc. If an employee is found to have lied on their application, they are immediately terminated.
Why would a company want dishonest people working for them?

Unknown said...

I absolutely think an executive should be Fired ! not allowed just to resign, if they gave any false information including academic information on a resume.
1) If they lied on something so easily verified, what else would they lie about?
2) It is the Knowledge behind the degree that is important, not the title. Somehow we've forgotten that fact. So the person is cheating the company. They falsely represented themselves as having knowledge they didn't have. They are actually "con men/women".
3) All resumes should be verified before hiring in any position.
Marguerite Rathbone R.N.

Anonymous said...

The employer should terminate after verifying that false claims were made on the resume. The resume was an integral part of the selection process. More qualified applicants were passed over unfairly and the employer is being defrauded. If possible the reason for the termination should be made available if someone asks for future references.
Bill Chase, 26461 Via Juanita, Mission viejo, ca. 92691