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Week of 3.16.07

A Spy in the Spotlight & Bill George Interview

David Brancaccio takes a look at today's dramatic House committee testimony from Valerie Plame. Plame is the former CIA operative who claims her identity was "carelessly and recklessly" revealed by government officials as retribution for her husband's criticism of U.S. intelligence on Iraq. Plame testified about the leaks that ended her undercover career, but jumpstarted investigations into questionable "spin" tactics at the highest levels of our government.

After watching the show, learn how the leaks turned into a full-blown investigation, and how the media lived up to its responsibilities: NOW: Spin Cycle

Interview: Bill George

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Can capitalism be saved from its own excesses? Bill George, a former Fortune 500 CEO and Harvard professor, thinks so—but it will take hard work, sacrifice, and commitment on the part of corporate leaders.

In a compelling conversation with NOW's David Brancaccio, George prescribes a cure for self-serving corporate leaders who abandon rules of right and wrong at great peril to their companies, their communities, and the environment.

"I think we've been choosing boards of directors and many wrong leaders for the wrong reason. We choose people for their image, their charisma, their style and we should be choosing them for their integrity, for their character, and their substance," George said. He believes great organizations have thousands of leaders, not just one person at the top.

Part of this means foregoing the short-term gains that Wall Street seems to love, and adopting strict ethical standards. George believes this will increase long-term corporate value.

This week, laws are being debated in response to the Enron and Worldcom debacles, but some argue the rules are too costly and cumbersome. George discusses the law and explains why he believes it has gone too far.

Part of George's inspiration comes from the 125 top U.S. business leaders he spoke to for his new book, "True North." An excerpt is available below.

What's wrong with American capitalism and how to fix it. This week on NOW.

About Bill George

Bill George is Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, where he is teaching leadership and leadership development. He is the author of the best-selling book, "Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value." His new book is "True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership."

George is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic. He joined Medtronic in 1989 as President and Chief Operating Officer, and was elected Chief Executive Officer in 1991, serving in that capacity through 2001. He was Chairman of the Board from 1996 to 2002. Under his leadership, Medtronic's market capitalization grew from $1.1 billion to $60 billion.

George currently serves as a director of ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, and Novartis, as well as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and World Economic Forum USA.

During 2002-2003, George was Professor of Leadership and Governance at IMD International in Lausanne, Switzerland and Executive-in-Residence at Yale University's School of Management. Prior to joining Medtronic, he spent ten years as a senior executive with Honeywell and ten years with Litton Industries, primarily as president of Litton Microwave Cooking.

George was named Executive-of-the-Year by the Academy of Management (2001) and Director-of-the-Year by NACD (2001-02). In 2002 George was selected as one of "The 25 Most Influential Business People of the Last 25 Years" by PBS Nightly Business Report & Wharton School of Business.

Related Links:

» Harvard Business School: Bill George

» True North Leaders

» NOW: Pay Daze

NOW Topic Search: Business/Corporate Ethics