Cuomo’s resignation provides 4 lessons in crisis management for business leaders


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s surprise announcement today that he will resign from the post he has held for the past 10 years provides business leaders with several lessons on how to respond to a crisis they may have caused, worsened, or refused to treat quickly.

As The Associated Press reported, “In a televised address, the 63-year-old Democrat categorically denied that he intentionally disrespected women, but said that fighting what he called the attack” was politically motivated. Against him would subject the state to less agitation, and ‘I cannot be the cause of this.’

“The best way I can help now is to step back and let government come back to government,” Cuomo said.

The four lessons

His resignation brings the following lessons in crisis management for business leaders:

  • When you are wrong, say so; do not blame others for the crisis you have caused.
  • The sooner you admit your mistakes, the better.
  • Clearly and succinctly explain the reasons for your decision.
  • Don’t do or say anything that will make the crisis worse or prolong it.

Not the first

Cuomo is certainly not the first high profile person to step down due to a scandal or other crisis.

According to the Associated Press, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008 because of a call girl scandal. Eric Schneiderman, that state’s attorney general, resigned in 2018 after four women accused him of abuse.

In 2018, USA Today reported that “after a day in which he admitted to using a racial slur, John Schnatter resigned from the company he founded. Papa John’s International announced Wednesday evening that Schnatter had resigned as president. The company will appoint a new president “in the coming weeks”.

“The resignation ends on a day that began with a Forbes story in which Schnatter allegedly used the N word during a call with a public relations company designed to help the company avoid more public relations problems.”

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