In yesterday's New York Times, Alina Tugend writes:
"There has been a fair amount in the news lately about apologies, particularly whether the chief executive officers of financial institutions have been contrite enough about the role they played in bringing about this recession......When you refuse to apologize for a wrong or are told by a lawyer or insurer not to do it "dismantles one of life's most basic moral lessons-owning up to our mistakes, Profeesor Cohen, of the University of Florida, says."
Alina Tugend, An Attempt to Revive The Lost Art of Apology, New York Times, January 30, 2010
Warren Buffett would agree. In 1991, in response to the impending collapse of Salomon Brothers
resulting from illegal trading, he says:
“ We did wrong. We ’ re going to show how we did wrong. We ’ ve signed the charge sheet. I would like to start by apologizing for the acts that have brought us here. The Nation has a right to expect its rules and laws will be obeyed. At Salomon, certain of these were broken.
I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear on the front page of their local paper the next day, to be read by their spouses, children
and friends . . . . If they follow this test, they need not fear my other message to them: Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the fi rm, and I
will be ruthless. ”
Roger Lowenstein, Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist (New York: Random House, 1995)