Embarrassing CEO Moments: Can You Top This?

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Two people you probably don’t want to be right now are Elizabeth Corse and Carter Cromley, who handle investor and media relations, respectively, for SAVVIS Communications.

You know, SAVVIS Communications – the company that got hit with a lawsuit by American Express after the company’s CEO refused to pay a $241,000 tab for one night at Scores, the New York strip club made famous by Howard Stern.

I’m no mathematician, but by my informal calculations, $241,000 is enough to get lap-danced to the moon and back.

On Monday, SAVVIS announced that CEO Robert McCormick would be placed on indefinite unpaid leave while the St. Louis-based company (NASDAQ: SVVS) investigated. Here’s the SAVVIS news release and a New York Daily News story. Reports the Daily News:

McCormick, whose photo appeared on the front page of the Daily News next to the headline “Lap Dunce,” insisted he and three business acquaintances spent a mere $20,000 at Scores on Oct. 22, 2003.

But the strip club’s officials said he grossly miscalculated.

AmEx claimed in a lawsuit that it has documents signed by McCormick indicating the titillating tab was legitimate.

McCormick allegedly took over Scores’ mirror-lined President’s Club and ordered 10 exotic dancers at a time to lavish him with attention for $4,000 an hour, a club source said.

When the hour was up, McCormick demanded, “I need 10 more,” the source said.

In addition to Elizabeth and Carter, I’m sure the PR folks with the St. Louis Blues are a little stressed, too. The NHL team, back from a crippling year-long strike, plays its home games at the Savvis Center.

Well, for the PR teams’ sake, I hope it all works out for the best. I’m reminded of some on my own embarrassing CEO moments of the past 12 years — but I’m keeping those to myself.

See other blog opinions on SAVVIS here, here, and here.

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About the author

Scott Baradell
Scott, president of Idea Grove, oversees one of the fastest-growing and most forward-looking public relations and inbound marketing agencies in the southwestern United States. Idea Grove focuses on helping technology companies reach media and buyers; and its clients range from venture-backed startups to Fortune 200 companies. Scott launched Idea Grove in 2005 along with his groundbreaking blog, Media Orchard. He has been a consistent innovator in the public relations and marketing space. Scott was among the first to understand the role of blogging in audience building. He was quick to recognize the vital importance of content quality and the power of social sharing. Most significantly, he developed a system that integrates public relations, content creation, social and search marketing, and conversion rate optimization into a program that produces hard-dollar results for clients.

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2 thoughts on “Embarrassing CEO Moments: Can You Top This?

  1. John Wagner

    I don’t understand why he didn’t pay the bill out of his own pocket, or at least try and quietly work out a settlement.

    Seems ridiculous to let it get as far as a lawsuit. He had to know it would not be looked upon kindly by shareholders and the BoD.

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  2. SB

    I agree. Considering that he makes $600,000 per year, he might have tried to settle with AmEx rather than seeing this happen. I have to imagine that his market value in CEO land has gone down quite a bit.

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