A Wake-Up Call For Directors

The once-cushy corporate board job could bring a new level of personal financial responsibility

In??the??postscandal??era,??corporate boards of directors have been under close scrutiny and logging twice as many hours. Now the once cushy job could bring a crushing level of personal financial liability as well. That's the latest tremor to rock the business world. It springs from a deal in which 10 former directors at WorldCom (now MCI) will dig deep into their pockets to settle lawsuits stemming from the phone company's accounting scandal and plunge into bankruptcy.

Directors are almost never forced to ante up personally to compensate for the losses when a company implodes. But investors suing WorldCom, where the board routinely rubber-stamped...

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