The #MeToo movement has certainly opened up conversations about boardrooms spilling over into bedrooms. While most CEOs’ behavior is nothing like Harvey Weinstein, the high-profile scandal has caught the attention of boards everywhere.
As divorce attorneys who frequently represent CEOs and other senior executives, we have learned that CEO divorces are a bit of an arcane subject because boards can be old-school about people’s personal matters. However, the high-stress CEO lifestyle can be hard on marriages and even lead to marital problems, which is something boards should be aware of, especially when a stressful divorce leads to the termination or resignation of a CEO.
How Marital Problems Hurt CEOs
Historically, there have been many examples where the CEO lifestyle, particularly long hours and a lot of travel, led to marital problems. Sometimes, CEOs seek comfort in someone else’s arms, such as colleague or someone they met traveling for work.
There have been instances where extramarital relationships actually led to the CEO’s dismissal. Since CEO terminations are important to boards of directors, they should be aware of the personal challenges faced by chief executives.
It’s no secret – being a CEO is a stressful job because it requires them to be away from their families a lot. This is a consideration for boards of directors because CEOs can amass great wealth, which is frequently tied to company equity, of which ownership can change. These are consequences that CEOs and boards must be sensitive to.
One thing that’s interesting is that many of the CEOs that get divorce were long-tenured at a company before their marriage ended. Yet, a year or two following the divorce, they were no longer with the company. Often, resignations came shortly after a divorce. Because of this, we believe boards of directors should pay attention to the married lives of their CEOs, because a shaky marriage can impact the CEO’s focus, job performance, and behavior.