Saying sorry is not enough

One of the biggest rounds of applause came when John Neill, chief executive of Unipart, the logistics company, said that if he had sold toxic products he would have been committing a criminal offence and would have expected to be in prison.

There was a frisson in the room. The atmosphere was such that a lynch mob could have been formed for the nearest banker. That got me thinking about the conduct of some of the bankers which has ranged from gross misjudgment to selfish actions in relation to bonuses and golden parachutes which really are totally unacceptable.

Later I saw President Obama making the same point about some of the bankers and ex-bankers on Wall Street.

I do not know yet whether the chief executives of the banking world have really got the enmity that they have generated by their poor conduct.

Saying sorry is not enough. Giving back the money would be a good start and in some cases some criminal proceedings would definitely be in order.

Davos blog 2009

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