Fortunately, respect for this sort of parenting outside the board room is dwindling as baby boomers disappear from the parenting picture and Gen-Xers take their place. Sylvia Hewlett presents research to show that while baby boomers are willing to work extreme hours, younger people scoff at the idea of doing that for more than a year. And recent polls (via Hole in the Fence) show that men are sick of the long hours and want more time with their kids: Almost 40 percent of working dads would take a pay cut to spend more time with their kids. It'll be a great day when CEOs are dismissed for neglecting their kids. Meanwhile, employees, beware: CEOs like Stringer and Immelt have a negative effect on your own ability to keep your personal life intact, because work-life policy starts at the top and trickles down.
Amen. Some ways to figure out what the real corporate values around work-life balance are: Do people regularly have email exchanges on weekends or at strange hours of the night? (When you start a contract, do the execs welcome you via email sent on the weekend? :-) Who's still working at 7pm in the office?
Another point I'd add: How effective are they if they have that much to do, even at the office where they spend all their time? Executives at one of my past companies-- who praised it as an "aggressive" company with no ability to promise new hires good work-life balance and reasonable hours during their growth plans-- were themselves too busy to pay attention to many of the critical management issues that cross their desks! They're way past the tipping point on being good parents at the office, or good peers-- blowing off visiting VPs, even-- never mind what their wife and kids think of them for neglecting them! (This is, of course, my own opinion on them as seen from the middle management trenches, and may not be their own or their peers' opinions.)