HUBRIS IN BUSINESS

Hubris has brought about the downfall of numerous leaders and businesses and continues to do so.  Click on the links below for more information about how hubris contributed to the rise and fall of the leaders of these businesses and wreaked destruction not only on the leaders themselves and those unlucky enough to be around them but also on their organizations and, in some cases, entire industries.

Theranos was a California-based healthcare tech company which promised to revolutionize the blood-testing industry.  The claims made about the technology proved to be false.  Its founder Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of fraud in 2022 and is awaiting sentencing.

Carillion was a British construction and facilities management MNC that collapsed in 2018.  The company window-dressed its financial statements and its debt situation.  According to the Financial Times It had just £29mn when it collapsed and was about to run out of cash.  UK parliamentary committee described its rise and fall as 'a story of recklessness, hubris and greed'.

Enron was an American energy, commodities and services company that has become a byword for corporate corruption and has been described as a 'masterclass in hubris and greed'.

Lehman Brothers was a global financial services company founded in 1847.  It was one of the first to go under in the 'credit crunch' of 2008. It was led by Richard Fuld, described in the Financial Times as an arrogant and entrenched CEO who lost touch with employees, the business and its mission.

Royal Bank of Scotland was bailed-out by the UK taxpayer in the credit crunch to the tune of £45bn.  Its former CEO, Fred Goodwin (formerly 'Sir Fred'), was described in The Times of London as 'the world's worst banker'.  He was stripped of his knighthood in 2012.

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