Joseph Berardino Resigns as Andersen's CEO
On March 26, 2002 Joseph Berardino, managing partner and chief executive officer of Andersen Worldwide announced he is stepping down as head of the global professional services firm. His resignation will take effect after the board of partners chooses an interim CEO.
Mr. Berardino told partners and staff of his decision in an email that read in part, "There has been a great deal of skepticism about whether we would take the leadership necessary to make fundamental changes in our U.S. firm, even though we had brought in [former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman] Paul Volcker with a broad mandate to recommend changes. In the wake of an unprecedented criminal indictment of the U.S. firm, I have concluded that my continuing as Worldwide CEO could become an impediment to the efforts of Mr. Volcker and many others to save the U.S. firm."
In an account published by Fox News, Mr. Berardino reportedly explained, "I felt I had to take this step today to put an exclamation point behind the voices of our people -- to say that we are serious and we're a serious firm that deserves to continue here in the United States."
In another account published by the Financial Times, Mr. Beradino reportedly said, "People just don't seem to be listening to us or taking us real seriously. Our people have been speaking out. I'm now speaking out in the loudest way I can." Andersen employees around the US have been protesting at the US government's criminal charges against the entire firm in connection with an alleged obstruction of justice in the Enron case. "If my sacrifice helps just a few of those people, I will feel really good," Mr. Berardino said.