Another top executive is caught lying about his credentials, but we’re supposed to think it’s no big deal. First it was Usana Health Sciences (NASDAQ:USNA) board member Denis Waitley lying about his college degrees. Then it was Usana CFO Gil Fuller lying about being a CPA. Then it was Usana exeuctive Timothy Wood lying about his college degree.
Now it’s the Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) president, Gregory Probert, lying about having an MBA from Cal State. But in typical multi-level marketing company (product-based pyramid scheme) fashion, you are urged to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” in Wizard of Oz fashion.
As reported in today’s Wall Street Journal, the MBA degree was listed in at least 19 Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Probert’s excuse? Vanity. (No, we call that fraud, not vanity.) According to the article:
In response, Mr. Probert, 51 years old, said he nearly completed an M.B.A. at Cal State, but “the truth is that my vanity prevailed and I did not take action” to correct Herbalife’s biography of him “even though I was aware it was not accurate.”
“I suppose that some of us who have been blessed with a certain degree of good fortune are tempted to see the paths we took in romantic versus strictly factual ways,” Mr. Probert wrote in an email. “I was wrong for succumbing to my vanity and apologize for doing so.”
I can just imagine Usana CFO Gil Fuller sitting in his office, saying ” See! I TOLD you everyone lies about their credentials!”
Here’s my concern: The lying at Herbalife goes beyond this. It’s part of a pattern of deception that the executives are engaged in. They’ll tell you this is no big deal. I say it is. It’s simply symptomatic of bigger problems at Herbalife.