Marc Lepere

Marc Lepere

Doctor of Philosophy, Mr

Personal profile

Research interests (short)

In Room 2123 of Rayburn House, Washington the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of BP, Volkswagen, Equifax and Facebook each testify to Congress. Three stops along the Capitol subway system to Room 2538 of the Dirksen Senate Office building and the CEO of Wells Fargo testifies to the Senate and nine days later to the House Financial Services Committee. All are accepting personal responsibility, under oath, for some of the biggest corporate scandals of the past decade; and committing to take the necessary steps to ensure ‘this can never happen again’. This thesis asks, ‘to what extent does holding CEOs to personally account for crises effect corporate responsibility? 

Deep case studies examine: BP’s Deepwater Horizon crisis (2010), VW’s Emissions crisis (2015), Wells Fargo’s opening of Unauthorised accounts (2016), Equifax’s Data breach (2017) and Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal (2018). Content analysis of Congressional records; corporate communications; Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) disclosures; Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and stock market data are analysed to examine the accountability of 14 CEOs. Data is analysed in a five-year framework: two years ex-ante to examine antecedent conditions, the period of the crisis in which the company and Congress signals its intentions to make the company more responsible and two years ex-post to assess change in corporate responsibility and to monitor persistency. Changes in responsibility are externally validated using Refinitiv Eikon ESG metrics.

The thesis’s primary theoretical contribution is ‘accountability subversion’. The public demand that irresponsible actors are held to account by regulators for causing environmental and social harm. This demand conflicts with normative, coercive and mimetic pressures to prioritise economic interests over environmental and social concerns. To reconcile this conflict, CEOs subvert their public accountability by using countermeasures to undermine the direct and indirect effects of the mechanisms of public accountability i.e., public shaming, financial penalties, and enforcement orders. Accountability subversion constrains public accountability, decouples reputational harm from core business operations, and may inadvertently incentivise greenwashing.

Biographical details

Marc leads Executive Education on ESG & Sustainability at King’s Business School, King's College London. He holds a PhD and a MSc from King’s College London, and is an Economics graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.Doctoral Thesis is in Political Economy, at King’s College London. 

Professionally, Marc has served as Chief Marketing Officer for Havas Worldwide; Executive Vice President for McCann Erickson WorldGroup and Deputy Chairman of Dentsu in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Marc’s academic research and experience as an entrepreneur and senior board member inspired him to found Omnevue. is a new online platform that makes it easy and affordable for SMEs to get non-financial data and ESG reports assured by certified public accountants, just like financials.

Marc has published in leading journals including Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Financial Times and Discovering Truth (series 1) which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Political Economy, Master of Science, Emerging economies, King's College London


Award Date: 10 Oct 2017

Economics, Bachelor of Business Studies, Trinity College Dublin


Award Date: 10 Jan 1982


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