CEO Oath of Office: Yes or No?

5 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Mark E. Haskins

Mark E. Haskins

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


The new CEO of a large growing company is determined to stay focused, work hard, think broadly, and tap the talents of those who work for him. He is so committed to do his best that he would take an oath of office if there was one to take.



Sept. 12, 2014


It was uncanny. It was October 16, and Jeremy Hampton had just been publicly named as the next CEO of Columbus Communications, Inc. (CCI), a large and growing company specializing in commercializing military hardware and satellite communications products. He would officially assume his new role on January 1. Hampton remembered another October 16, 30 years earlier, proudly taking the oath as a commissioned officer in the United States Army (Exhibit 1).

CCI had had a significant string of successful years and was positioning itself for an initial public stock offering within the year. In fact, if the truth be told, the board of directors thought Hampton's appointment would be a powerfully positive signal to the markets. He had been with the company since retiring from the United States Army as a well-respected senior colonel five years earlier. He believed he was ready for the challenge and looked forward to leading the CCI executive team.

As Hampton reflected on the day's announcement with a bit of momentary somberness, he knew that CEOs and their executive teams came and went. He was aware that the public saw many CEOs as overpaid and warranting close scrutiny. He had to admit that among the CEOs he had met over the years, some seemed qualified to lead a large enterprise, and some did not. Some CEOs held their position of responsibility for a long period of time, whereas some barely settled in before they moved on. Some sought the limelight, some did not, and for some CEOs, the limelight found them. As he closed his briefcase to head home for the weekend, he knew that the modern-day CEO shouldered more responsibility, in a more dynamic world, with more interested stakeholders than ever before. Just as he had done during his military career, he was determined to remain focused, work hard, think broadly, and tap the talents of those who worked for him. He was so determined and so committed to do his very best that he would have proudly taken an oath of office—if there had been one to take.

. . .

Keywords: oaths of office, accountability

Suggested Citation

Haskins, Mark E., CEO Oath of Office: Yes or No?. Darden Case No. UVA-G-0637, Available at SSRN:

Mark E. Haskins (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924 -4826 (Phone)


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