News came out yesterday regarding the CEO and COO’s departure from Alibaba.com amidst +1,000 customers that have been the victim of fraud. You can read two articles on this at TechCrunch and AuctionBytes.
Alibaba.com has slowly been gaining pace, it was acquired by Yahoo in 2005 for a mere $1B in cash and stocks. Its a marketplace for trade between countries.It’s quite a beast and should not be dismissed for early trading.
This article isn’t on the marketplace or the fraud that took place, but rather on the outcome from the news becoming public. Which provoked the the resignation of CEO David Wei and COO Elvis Lee.
Note: For those not used to these terms, CEO is ‘Chief Executive Officer’, AKA the “top dude” and COO is ‘Chief Operations Officer’, AKA “top dude’s minion” who deals with the day-to-day operations.
I’m covering a lot of ground work currently around the coveted MBA (Masters of Business & Administration) and ethics are a core part of such a program.
From what I have read and interpreted, its all about keeping ones own moral compass aligned correctly and this can actually be hard work, for which David Wei and Elvis Lee kept aligned when they accepted ownership of the failures that arose. They could have possibly come out of this with their jobs, yet chose to do the right thing.
However, the Board accepted Wei and Lee’s wishes that they “take responsibility for the systemic break-down in our Company’s culture of integrity.” Ablibaba founder Jack Ma said the two executives were doing the honorable thing in accepting full responsibility and thanked them for their tireless service to the company.
Whether directly or indirectly responsible, such fraud of a scale of $1.7M cannot be ignored. David Wei and Elvis Lee I suspect, must have hit their moral compasses North when this happened and woke up to the fact that as “top dude” and “top dude’s minion” they are ultimately responsible and stood down.
I’m really looking forward to the case studies in the Business Ethics section of the MBA and how it relates back to this set of unfortunate circumstances. I’m just glad to see that such a moral compass works regardless of faith or region.