Lehman Brothers CEO apologies vs. Japan Airlines CEO apologies

The day before yesterday Japan Airlines (JAL) declared bankruptcy. It was Asia’s largest airline by revenue, which doesn’t mean the most profitable. Prime Minister Hatoyama and the Transportation Minister announced on TV that they will help as much as possible in the whole restructuring process (although 15,000 jobs will be lost). The current CEO of Japan Airlines also appeared on TV and he declared himself the responsible for the bankruptcy, apologized to all Japan and bowed profusely twice (0:25 minute of the first video). I couldn’t avoid thinking about the day when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and the CEO, Richard Severin Fuld, not even appeared on TV to give explanations and apologize.

Richard Severin Fuld only spoke in public when he was forced to declare against a court. If you watch the video you will see that he assumes responsibility for what happened, but he also blames the unpredictability of markets and that nobody forecasted that the bubble was so big. He also never says the word “sorry” (probably because it’s not appropriate so say it in front of a court).

  • G

    January 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    How about European CEOs apologizing? Care to post up some videos of them? They’re conspicuously absent from this post. 🙂

  • Brad F.

    January 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Seems like the Japanese have a greater sense of personal responsibility in business ventures.

  • L

    January 20, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Agreed. I’d like to see some apologies from European CEOs.

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    January 21, 2010 at 1:37 am

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  • Babel

    January 21, 2010 at 9:58 am

    G, I can tell you that the president of a Spanish low cost airline company (Air Comet) said after the bankrupt that he wouldn’t have used that company for flying…
    and also this man is also the president of The Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations (CEOE)…
    so you can see…..

  • Tornadoes28

    January 21, 2010 at 11:35 am

    It is just a cultural difference. It may be very possible that the JAL executive is truly sorry but he may also just be performing what is traditionally expected. It is not really fair to compare how a corporate exec in the U.S. acts versus one in Japan. It is just a cultural expression in my opinion. I personally don’t think the JAL executive is any more sorry than the Lehman executive. But that’s just my opinion.