Update: Survey Draws International Response To Determine Best, Worst in Accountability for 2015

Jan 18, 2016, 12:40 ET from Bustin & Co.

DALLAS, Jan. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders throughout the world voted in December for the "Best and Worst in Accountability" of 2015 in the second annual Bustin & Co. accountability survey.

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke was voted the "most accountable" person in 2015 over four other candidates, receiving 34% of the votes.

When Stritzke announced REI would close all 143 of its stores the day after Thanksgiving on the year's busiest shopping day, he was putting the company's money where its mouth has been: namely, demonstrating REI's core values that have helped make this outdoor recreation outfitter one of the Best Places to Work since 1998. REI's unwavering devotion to its core purpose was rewarded by shoppers. According to SimilarWeb Ltd., a UK-based web analytics company, REI's online traffic increased 10% on Thanksgiving and 26% on Black Friday.

Here are the rankings for the most accountable people and organizations of 2015:

  1. REI closes for Thanksgiving (34% of votes).
  2. Pope Francis uses his pulpit for the poor and the planet (27%).
  3. Best Buy's turnaround led by CEO Hubert Joly and CFO Sharon McCollum (22%).
  4. Panera's decision to eliminate up to 150 ingredients with artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners and flavors (15%).
  5. Walmart's decision to launch an animal welfare initiative (2%).  

Meanwhile, there are people at the top who lose our respect for saying one thing and doing another.   

Several voters emailed saying they wanted to vote all of the nominees as "worst."

The least accountable organization of 2015 is Volkswagen with 32% of the votes.

Rigged emissions testing in 11 million Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche automobiles cost CEO Martin Winterkorn his job last September. In November, VW sales plunged 25% at a time when analysts projected industry sales would increase 2.5%. The New York Times reported Saturday that German privacy laws are making it difficult "to identify which employees knew about or sanctioned the deceptions." VW Group's new chief Matthias Müller has promised "maximum transparency" but, so far, the actions do not match the words.

Here, in reverse order – from least offensive to the biggest offender – are the rankings of the least accountable people and organizations of 2015:

  • Mexico allows its most wanted criminal to escape a second time (8%). Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was recaptured last Friday, so perhaps there will be no three-peat.
  • Brian Williams, the former anchor of NBC's "Nightly News" who admitted making "inaccurate statements" about his experience during a helicopter attack in Iraq but couldn't bring himself to use the "L" word (17%).
  • Death in the French Alps, the crash of Lufthansa's economy airline Germanwings Flight 9525 by the co-pilot with a long history of depression (19%).
  • Sepp Blatter, the ousted president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association whose allegations of fraud, kickbacks and outright theft have dogged his presidency since 1998 (24%).
  • VW's rigged emissions testing (32%).

Bustin & Co. is a leadership development consultancy founded and led by Greg Bustin

Bustin's newest book, Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (McGraw-Hill) is based on five years of research marked by interviews and surveys with more than 5,000 executives around the world to understand how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust and fulfillment.

Bustin writes a blog read by more than 6,000 executives globally, and his views on leadership have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., the Dallas Morning News and other major publications.


SOURCE Bustin & Co.