There have been some rather negative stories about company leaders in the news lately.

First and foremost, we have Bernard Madoff, who one day just decided to turn himself in and own up to the fact that his company was a sham, and he'd been running a big Ponzi scam on his investors, to the tune of around $50 billion dollars.

Then we have Alex Widmer, the chief executive of Bank Julius Baer and a well respected figure in Swiss private banking, who committed suicide at the age of 52. This was around the same time that Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, the founder and chief executive officer of the U.S. investment banking branch of the French bank Credit Lyonnais Securities, committed suicide. Srinivas Vadlamani, the CFO of Satyam, also attempted to commit suicide in the wake of his company's EO admitting that they'd been inflating profit numbers for years. Gideon Hirsch, PhD, MD, the CEO of Israel’s AIDS Task Force, was found dead in his apartment from an apparent pill overdose, age 48. And finally, Steven L Good, 52, CEO of Sheldon Good & Co. also committed suicide.

The biggest news to date is the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, having to take a sabbatical from his duties for health reasons. This is a negative story because it's rare that a CEO is so identified with his company that the stocks will take the kind of plunge Apple's did on the announcement. This highlights one of those problems of being too well known or too popular; there's little trust in those under him from the public to make the company seem like it's valuable without him. Not that people don't have a reason to be a little nervous, since the last time he left (rather, was ousted), the company hit upon some bad financial times until they brought him back some years later.

It's not bad enough that the world is dealing with the problems of a struggling economy. Now, we're having to deal with many of these leaders, rather, "appointed" leaders, not being able to step up to the plate and take care of their business, which also includes taking care of themselves, Jobs notwithstanding. All these moves counter what most of us consider as good leadership and management, of which two of the main principles are to make sure your staff can handle their duties without you and to always be there as a shining example of how you hope they'll represent your company.

All of these men failed for one reason or another, and it cost some of them their lives. Is there anyone who really believes these things are worth that much?