The UK’s papers are gleefully reporting that Fred Goodwin, former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has been stripped of his knighthood.
The decision, formally taken by the Queen, follows weeks of public debate and the private deliberations of government officials. Knighthoods are rarely rescinded unless the person has been found guilty of a criminal offence or has been stripped of his/her professional status by a regulator. Goodwin was an exception.
The former CEO joins an embarrassing list of rescinded knighthoods. The most mentioned is Robert Mugabe, who continues to run Zimbabwe into the ground. Goodwin wisely declined any comment.
The PR Verdict: “A” for Fred Goodwin and his decision to stay silent.
Goodwin might have been tempted to defend himself, cloaking his comments in a discussion about setting the record straight for his family. But given the widespread support across all party lines and the unanimous media cheering the best move was to say nothing. With his former bank effectively nationalized and bailed out in excess of 45 billion pounds, his public rehabilitation seems far off. In a case like this his only hope is that time will change perspective …or he may to consider an appearance in next season’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here to show viewers a more redeeming side.