Do Scandals Really Hurt Leading Men? David Petraeus New Life…

According to the Washington Post’s On Leadership blog, David Petraeus is making out like a king seven months after the scandal that titillated the US and “outed” US Military ethical problems.

In April, he announced he would be joining the City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College for a one-year position as a visiting professor. A few days later, the University of Southern California said Petraeus would be joining the school as a part-time professor and mentor to students who are veterans.

So far so good, status-wise.

And he’s going to make some good money, too, from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. which hired him as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, a newly created center within the investment firm.

Cliff Owen, AP

Cliff Owen, AP

According to the blog, “The Global Institute, a press release states, will “build on the firm’s efforts to help KKR’s portfolio companies expand globally” and will serve “periodically as an outlet for publishing the firm’s thought leadership products, including views from portfolio managers and industry experts.” The Wall Street Journal reports that the center will “bring together Mr. Petraeus and others at the firm to formalize discussions over macroeconomic and geopolitical forces that could influence KKR’s investment decisions.”

Not bad for a man who exited stage right from his top dog position in the CIA. He was probably chastened, but not too nervous, because let’s face it, his influence comes not from morality, but from power, experience and connections.

So much for the Bathsheba Syndrome. Like King David, Petraeus faced personal challenges, lost some face, and stayed in power, big time!

Broadwell, on the other hand, is still “seeking meaningful work.” She’s still talking about learning mistakes, returning to her roots in faith, and hoping to work with veterans again, according to CNN. This dignified but somewhat desperate public statement has no resemblance to Bathsheba, the powerful Queen who ultimately matched King David’s strength of purpose, will and godliness.


It’s more difficult now, it seems, for those who were tempted/tempting, but don’t have the power to claim their place on the comeback throne, as David Petraeus does. She gets notoriety, he gets new opportunities.


  1. […] leadership recoveries: we’re supposed to suspend our disbelief, and believe good things about Petraeus and other men who have succumbed to the so-called Bathsheba […]


  2. […] New research indicates that one of the reasons for this pattern is primarily cultural — because masculinity is on the line in negotiations on all level of the corporate ladder. (Another way of thinking about this is that conforming to male norms is part of a privilege network in a culture biased towards masculine values in public arenas.) There’s an interesting leadership paradox here: masculinity is a source of both protection and frailty for men in power. […]


  3. […] about General David Petraeus, for example. What if it wasn’t the “Bathsheba Syndrome” affair that ended his […]


  4. […] that could have impacted national security. Although his post-scandal life has been quiet, he’s used his clout to find high-paying, high-powered work. It seems likely this will make those who gave him a second chance think twice before sharing any […]


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