These Friday nights out ,drinking with your friends had become an institution since you started working with PharmChemCo(PCC), one of the biggest pharmaceutical and chemical companies in the world five years ago. And, it had been five great years. Not only had it brought you career success and a very healthy bank balance, but it had also made you a successful player in the stock market. Since you were promoted to regional marketing director for the North East, PCC had started to pay most of your bonuses in share options. This had proved to be an extremely lucrative package, given your success in meeting sales targets and, of course, the impressive performance of the shares over the last two and a half years. But this Friday night, however, you are not feelings so relaxed. Yes, you have an expensive bottle of imported beer in your hand, yes you have some of your best mates with you, all totally up for a big night out, and yes, Freddie, and your best friend from college is arriving any minute. However, today at work had been a nightmare.
A special meeting had been called by one of the vice presidents for all of the senior managers. In the meeting it had been announced that scientists in a leading research lab at SFW University in the US has discovered some potentially lethal side effects associated with one of the PCC’s best-selling herbicides. The report had been confidential to the board of PCC but an article containing the research was going to be published in Big Science magazine next week on Thursday. The purpose of the meeting was to inform everybody and to discuss potential strategies to tackle the problem. Consequently you were urged to be absolutely silent about the research findings, particularly as the likelihood was that this would turn out to be a major news story. Knowing about this makes you uneasy now. It is pretty sure that this information will have a major effect on the share price of PCC as court cases in the US with huge damages are a certainty. When digesting the news in your office after lunch you already have decided to sell your shares in PCC next thing on Monday –as it is almost certain that the value of your stocks will never be the same in the foreseeable future once this news is out.
However, you are certain that Freddie, your friend from college, is also going to be much affected by the news once it gets out. He is now an account manager for a major investment bank. And not has he invested heavily in PCC shares himself but he has also advised many of his clients – among them managers of major funds- into investing in PCC. You are quite uneasy now about what to do. Freddie is an old mate, and you want to help him. You know he will hear of the news soon anyway and maybe given his contacts, before it is even published next Thursday. But if you tell him now, you are certain that he will not only sell his own shares (which you really would not mind), but as he is measured by the performance of his advice to his clients to sell. The effect on the share price before the publication of the article could be substantial.
1. What are the mail ethical issues in the case?
2. Who are the mail stakeholders here, and how would you compare the relative importance of their stakes?
3. Explain how you would ultimately decide and why?
4. Is there a difference between acting yourself on the information you were given or passing this on to Freddie.