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Accenture Ltd. announced over the weekend that it has ended its relationship with embattled golfer Tiger Woods, and will shift to a new marketing campaign immediately.

Woods, arguably the most successful celebrity pitchman since Michael Jordan, has seen his marketability challenged in recent weeks by charges of marital infidelities. While he has not been seen in public in weeks, Woods confirmed on his website that he had cheated on his wife and said that he would take an indefinite leave from playing golf.

Accenture’s Woods-related ads focused on the golfer’s ability to focus, perform and behave with integrity - all attributes that it said it shared with the athlete.

Under the circumstances, Accenture said in its statement, “after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising.”
KC's View:
Best headline I’ve seen for this story was in Fast Company: “Death of a Salesman.”

One of the most interesting things about this story, I think, is how few known facts there are.

We know that Tiger and his wife were involved in some sort of incident, but we don’t know the facts of what happened. We know that there were infidelities (only because he admitted it last week), but despite all the claims, we really don’t know how many or why.

Mostly, we know that we’re watching a kind of professional conflagration. But we really don’t know much else.

One other quick note here.

Last week, in a story about Tiger Woods, I commented that it seemed inevitable that sponsors would begin moving away from the golfer, and wrote:

And it is going to happen because some CEO’s wife is going to look at him across the breakfast table and say, “You’re not still doing business with him, are you?” Or because some CEO is going to be walking through O’Hare Airport, see all the billboards featuring Woods espousing a specific approach to life, and hear people snickering all around him.

I’m a moron. And my head ought to be on a pike for part of that statement.

After all, it isn’t just men who sit in CEO offices. In fact, one of Woods’ sponsors in Gatorade, which is owned by PepsiCo, which has Indra Nooyi as CEO.

I live with two smart, independent women, who take great exception to my original statement. And I got a number of emails from MNB readers who used a variety of adjectives to describe what I said.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.