Former CFO’s Lawsuit Reflects Dysfunction at Motorola

Irrespective of whether one believes the claims in the whistleblower lawsuit filed by former Motorola CFO Paul Liska, one is forgiven from wondering how Motorola let the situation devolve into a debacle in which the company’s dirty laundry will be unfurled in court.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Liska claims he was fired after he questioned the accuracy of financial forecasts from the company’s troubled cellphone unit. Motorola contends Mr. Liska orchestrated his role as a whistleblower to cover up for his poor performance as CFO.

Whatever.

Somebody’s telling the truth, or at least the truth insofar as it can be discerned, and somebody isn’t. However, given the plummeting fortunes of Motorola, and especially the handset division that is at the core of this dispute, one wonders how and why the Motorola executive braintrust and board could allow a potentially deleterious distraction of this magnitude to materialize.

Even if one gives Motorola the benefit or the doubt and assumes the company is more in the right than the wrong, why couldn’t Motorola, in the spirit of enlightened self-interest, have made the necessary accommodation to ensure that Liska left the company amicably, without recrimination?

It leaves an objective observer to think Motorola’s potentates either have something to hide, as Liska asserts, or were inept in executing his departure. Either way, it’s another dark chapter for a company than can’t afford too many more before its obituary is written.

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