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Stop Apologizing for Failed CEOs

The week started with Chuck Prince, the disgraced CEO of Citigroup (C), saying that he was resigning because it was the honorable thing to do. The week ends with the news that, as part and parcel of the honorable thing, Prince will be leaving with $40 million in booty.

And how did the business media react to that news? You really didn't ask that, did you?

With happy talk and apologies of course. And while it is painful to read, the Business Press Maven is happy to address it. The business media so matter-of-factly accept CEO worship that my hope is consistently targeting this malfeasance might eventually strike at those puff-files that (mis)lead investors to believe their company is in the hands of a God and, the real God willing, strike at these ridiculous pay packages and gilded offerings, which throw in the kitchen sink in rewarding incompetence as much as achievement, that waste shareholder money as needlessly as blowing 50s out the window.

But ask me sometime and I'll tell you how I really feel. Until then, let us flagellate the offenders in the Prince affair.

Reuters reports the $40 million news in the first sentence before putting it all into perspective in the second. And what passes for perspective ? Remarkably, pointing out that Prince was not handed as much as his partner in abysmal failure over at Merrill Lynch. Intoned Reuters: "The package is less than a quarter of what former Merrill Lynch Chief Executive Stan O'Neal was awarded when he was ousted from the investment bank last week."

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