Pity the Poor CEO

Life is tough these days for corporate executives, sighs US News & World Report. "After being lionized by investors and the media and showered with money and perks for the past decade, corporate officers and directors are now feeling the heat," writes Matthew Benjamin. "To many executives, the job may not be worth the hassle," and many are worried about the legal liabilities that now come with the job. "Indeed, after terrorists, executives and directors may be the prime targets of federal crimebusters nowadays." Big business is racing to reform itself -- in words, if not in deeds. Citizenship is gaining steam among CEOs, and responsibility is high on the boardroom agenda. The number of companies publishing corporate responsibility reports has risen 35% in the past three years, but business writer Kimberly Weisul notes that "no common standards govern the statistics or assertions in these reports, leading to what some fear is a mishmash of incomplete and possibly misleading information." Even so, a partner at the KPMG accounting firm warns that responsibility reporting may create expectations that companies can't deliver. According to Business Week, "such reports can hold companies accountable, which may be exactly what some are afraid of."