Following the firing of a highly regarded employee who was alleged to have committed serial sexual assaults over 20 years, BMCG was engaged to conduct a reputational risk assessment, to identify and plan for likely impacts and consequences, and to develop an overall response strategy for the institution.

Actions / Recommendations:

  • Provided an initial assessment of the situation based on context, climate, and our own experience
  • Developed a “Planning Case” scenario analysis identifying university-wide risks, impacts, and consequences. Built matrix of 29 potential, unique risks (all but one of which materialized) to support proactive planning and mitigation.
  • Recommended mitigation strategies for each risk, including significant university actions and investigations, a cross-functional management process, and supporting communications strategies
  • Created an overarching strategic framework and variety of specific communication materials including core messaging, President’s communications, media statements and hard Q&As, Board materials, etc.


It is our position that the fundamental issue could have been resolved without significant reputational damage to the institution if key figures had recognized that their over-focus on legal liability created a short-sighted response that both exacerbated reputational risk as well as legal risk. BMCG resigned the account. The institution was harshly criticized for the response—particularly its failure to take responsibility—and settled, at the time, for a record sum.