What leaders and lawyers can learn from Thomas Cook’s handling of the Shepherd case and what they should do now…

If yesterday’s newspapers are to be believed, Thomas Cook and its lawyers are accused of mishandling the emotional aspects of the Shepherd case. We train, indeed expect, our lawyers to suppress their emotions in their legal roles. But senior in-house lawyers are now operating as lawyer leaders and in that role they, as the CEOs they serve, must develop high levels of emotional intelligence and apply it. Whether they did or not we can only speculate. But the buck stops with the CEO, not the lawyers. He should apologise not just for what happened but for his mishandling of the case. Then he should meet the Shepherds and demonstrate, rather than assert, his sorrow. This much loved brand has a chance of turning this story around as others, like Perrier, have done.


3 thoughts on “What leaders and lawyers can learn from Thomas Cook’s handling of the Shepherd case and what they should do now…

  1. Ciaran, a key question is whether the GC should be prepared to stand up and be counted and challenge the CEO, the executive team and hold a contrary view. Too often external lawyers will drive the outcome – afraid of exposure to the company – its client – and ultimately their own reputation and in this instance the company’s brand and its values have been immeasurably damaged. The GC is not just a lawyer – he or she represents the business and therefore they have to see everything from a business perspective, not just a legal one. The buck just doesn’t stop with the CEO but it stops with the whole of the executive team (including the GC) and the board; – surely someone should have seen this coming? Will there be any accountability? Too many mistakes and people’s lives have been ruined. Integrity, trust, honesty – all the values that should be the DNA of any business – that make for a ‘better business’ that cares about people and society. Thomas Cook have woefully failed…..

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