Johnson Controls CEO has extramarital affair with executive at consulting firm image

Here’s one business news that would also sit well on Ellen’s couch: auto supplier Johnson Controls Inc. fired the consulting firm they were using for years after the CEO confessed to an affair with one of the principals. He kept his job though.

Back in May, CEO Alex Molinaroli, 55, talked to his family and said he was involved in an affair with Kristin Ihle, a 45-year-old psychologist, who works at consulting firm Lichter & Ihle. The Milwaukee firm, involved with leader development and succession planning, had been a long time partner to the parts maker.

“The board reviewed the referenced relationship and determined that no conflicts of interest occurred,” comments Fraser Engerman, a Johnson Controls spokesman. “To avoid any perception or potential future conflicts, management elected to terminate the consulting firm. Mr. Molinaroli continues in his role with full support of the board, and the company considers this matter to be closed.”

“Marital infidelity is not a new phenomenon,” said Larry Hamermesh, a professor at Widener University’s law school. “What may be new is a sense of less tolerance of it in affecting business relationships. I think there’s probably been some cultural evolution on that front and it’s seeped into board rooms too.”

Johnson Controls, once the biggest US auto supplier, promoted Molinaroli as CEO in 2013 after he worked for the company for three decades. Ihle, a doctor in psychology, has separated with her husband last year. The news about the extramarital affair broke out from the transcript of a court hearing where Ihle tried (and didn’t succeed) to obtain a restraining order against the CEO’s wife.

Via Automotive News