After former Gen. David Petraeus resigned as director of the CIA in the wake of an extramarital affair, he said in a statement that he had shown “extremely poor judgment.”
Petraeus is hardly the first high-profile person to engage in such behavior. He’s in dubious company among a number of corporate leaders who have recently been caught in compromising circumstances.
The world of business has been the source of numerous powerful and highly placed individuals who put their marriages, careers and good standing at risk – all for an extramarital dalliance. CNBC.com presents a list of powerful figures from the world of business who went outside of their marriages to seek romance, physical gratification or simple companionship.
In some cases, these people found their next spouses. In others, they found nothing but the end of a promising career and a multimillion-dollar golden parachute. Read ahead to see who they are.
On Nov. 9 — the same day Petraeus resigned — Lockheed Martin president and chief operating officer Chris Kubasik offered his resignation at the request of the company’s board of directors. This happened just two months before he was to assume a new role as CEO.
According to the company’s website, the married executive had been involved in “a close personal relationship with a subordinate employee,” actions which “violated the company’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct.”
Brian Dunn was CEO of the consumer electronics company Best Buy. He began his tenure in 1985, working his way up to the highest rung on the ladder. He resigned in April due to what the company’s board attributed to Dunn’s “personal conduct.”
According to their audit committee, Dunn had “violated company policy by engaging in an extremely close personal relationship with a female employee.” Dunn, who was married at the time, received a severance package of over $6.6 million in exchange for stepping down.
Under the leadership of Harry Stonecipher, Boeing recovered from financial scandals that had tarnished its reputation, helping to renew its ability to bid on Pentagon projects and more than doubling its share price.
But in 2005, Stonecipher resigned in the wake of revelations that he had been involved in a relationship with a fellow executive. His wife of 50 years, Joan, filed for divorce shortly thereafter.
Mark Hurd is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. The New York Times characterized his tenure there as "one of the great rescue missions in American corporate history, refocusing the strife-ridden company and leading it to five years of revenue gains and a stock that soared 130 percent."
Still, Hurd was forced to resign in 2010. A sexual harassment probe found that he had violated company standards by filing inaccurate expense reports, as part of an effort to conceal a personal relationship with HP marketing consultant Jodie Fisher. The investigators found that the married CEO had not harassed her, but had paid her up to $10,000 per event to accompany him to business functions.
Julie Roehm was senior vice president of marketing communications for Wal-Mart. She was hired in 2006 to infuse the brand’s image with hip modernity, and according to her website, she “completely redirected and refined Wal-Mart’s marketing approach to project and reflect new corporate direction.” She was dismissed after just 10 months.
Accordingto The New York Times, Wal-Mart alleged that she had accepted gifts from companies wishing to become the retailer’s ad agency. Roehm sued Wal-Mart for breach of contract, but the retailer countersued and cited an alleged relationship with a subordinate named Sean Womack. Roehm and
Womack have denied the allegation. Both claims were dropped in November 2007.