Keep the shade to yo self
Need a life lesson about keeping nasty comments to yourself? Take it from KB Home CEO Jeffrey Mezger.
This past week, KB Home cut Mezger’s 2017 bonus by 25 percent after profane comments he made about comedian Kathy Griffin came to light.
Mezger, in an audio recording obtained from the security cameras on Griffin’s house, called her a list of not-safe-for-work names after she called the police on him for a noise complaint. This was reportedly one in many noise complaints that she and partner Randy Bick required police assistance over.
Since the incident was reported, Griffin and Bick have filed a restraining order against Mezger.
KB Home, an upscale builder with frequent home price tags in the millions of dollars, made a statement to the press regarding Mezger’s comments, saying the CEO had apologized for his language and that it did not “reflect who his he is or what he believes.” A spokesperson from the company also reported that a further problematic incident would trigger Mezger’s immediate dismissal.
Twenty five percent of nothing
Some who believe in the power of private industry to self regulate problematic behavior hold this action by KB Home as an additional example of the shifting tide of CEO expectations.
Consumers reported in a 2016 Stanford study that it would be appropriate for a company to fire its CEO over “morally questionable behavior” even if said behavior was not technically illegal.
Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted by the company last year after reports of rampant sexism in the workplace were published.
However, some have questioned if this “punishment” has any actual weight behind it, or if it is just for show. For starters, KB Home did not release any data on how much of a salary cut would be–and if it would actually affect Mezger at all. In an analysis from the Los Angeles Times, columnist Michael Hiltzick found that in addition to the lack of baseline bonus information from KB Home, that the CEO has reportedly not received a bonus since 2014. As Hiltzick points out “taking 25 percent of nothing is painless.”
Repercussions to follow
Besides the question of how much the incident will cost Mezger, a larger question looms on how this may potentially affect the KB Home bottom line. Suze Orman, a TV personality and financial advisor, has already taken to Twitter to encourage her followers to not choose KB Home to receive their business.
Long run, it is yet to be seen how much this will affect Mezger and the company he runs, but for the time being it certainly serves as a nice reminder of the adage: “if you cannot be positive, then at least be quiet.”