Category Archives: governance

What is the Point of Fannie’s Directors?

In a world where an AIG offsite meeting can cause a public uproar, it’s interesting that so few people seem to care very much about the sums of money being paid to Fannie Mae’s directors. Dean Baker, of course is … Continue reading

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How Long Will Rick Wagoner Last?

Joe Nocera is taking to blogging like Steve Jobs took to turtlenecks: “Rick has the unified support of the entire board to a person,” the company’s lead outside director, George M.C. Fisher, told Bill Vlasic of The Times in an … Continue reading

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Why Force Your CEO to be Chairman?

Gary Wilson finds an interesting bylaw in some of America’s bluest blue-chip companies: Such companies as General Electric, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, UPS, Deere, Caterpillar, CSX and Johnson & Johnson actually have bylaws that require the CEO to also serve as … Continue reading

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Shareholder Activism, K-12 Edition

The shareholder-activist playbook is simple. "You are working for us," say a group of outspoken people who know how to throw their weight around and how to apply pressure to the board. Pretty soon, the board is putting pressure on … Continue reading

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Have Any Bank Boards Done Anything Right?

Francesco Guerrera and Peter Thal Larsen have a long and intelligent article on banks’ boards today. They point out that board members, the people with ultimate oversight over the multi-billion-dollar losses which have devastated the industry, have emerged all but … Continue reading

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Annals of Crap Succession Planning, Wachovia Edition

What a mess. Wachovia’s board, led by its chairman of less than a month, Lanty Smith, has fired the CEO, Kennedy Thompson, with no idea of who’s going to replace him. There’s now an interim CEO (Smith) as well as … Continue reading

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US Sugar: No Victim of Nafta

Mary Williams Walsh, in the NYT, has a good investigation of US Sugar, and the way that its managers seem to be enriching themselves at the expense of their employee-shareholders. It is unfortunate, however, that one sentence, buried in her … Continue reading

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Citi’s Dreadful Succession Planning

Sandy Weill is sniping at Chuck Prince via the FT – again. Why? It makes him look like a petty and bitter old man, rather than any kind of elder statesman of finance. Interestingly, this time he’s not just blaming … Continue reading

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SocGen CEO Finally Resigns

Finally. SocGen CEO Daniel Bouton will officially resign as of May 12, and it seems like SocGen’s head of investment banking, Jean-Pierre Mustier, won’t last much longer either. Bouton will remain as chairman, but my guess is that’s a face-saving … Continue reading

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News Corp’s Cutest Board Member

"I’m not just some idiotic girl in piggytails yodeling," says Natalie Bancroft in an interview for the March issue of Portfolio, who was photographed by João Canziani. "I’m working my little butt off." The daughter of Joyce Bancroft, a Dutch-Brazilian … Continue reading

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At Google, Shareholders Have No Clout

Robert Cyran is unimpressed with Google’s push into clean energy: The company risks spreading itself too thin — chasing everything from personalized biotechnology to space flight. Its shareholders probably don’t want Mr. Page and other executives spending their time, or … Continue reading

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John Carney Doesn’t Like Shareholder Democracy

How much do you care about shareholder democracy? John Carney, of Dealbreaker, cares a lot. He’s a fan of people like Lynn Stout and Larry Ribstein, who say that shareholder democracy is a very bad idea, and he’s willing to … Continue reading

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The Victims of Options Backdating

Sam Gustin, it turns out, contra my earlier assertion, does know who the victims of options backdating are after all. They’re Mr and Mrs Investor Confidence, and apparently they’re both "nebulous" and also "a pillar of the market system". Which … Continue reading

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The Scandal of Options Backdating

One of the reasons Sam Gustin is underwhelmed by the Fake Steve Jobs book is that its author doesn’t take options backdating seriously enough. It’s "nothing short of an epidemic", he says, and "there is something slightly unfunny about basing … Continue reading

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Managers Have No Professional Ethics

After my interesting lunch with Rakesh Khurana (which has also been blogged by Justin Fox), I asked him by email whether business ethics have really declined over the past 30 years, or whether they’re merely perceived to have declined. Next … Continue reading

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The Wall Street Journal Touts Dubious Research (CEO Performance Edition)

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism submits: Will someone, please, teach the reporters at the Wall Street Journal the basics about scientific research? I know it’s hard finding stuff to write about day in, day out. But the story “Scholars Link … Continue reading

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Hedge Funds: Good Activists?

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism submits: Hedge funds, even at their peak of popularity, were regarded with considerable suspicion. They have taken a shellacking in the last few months as subprime tainted funds have folded or reported poor results, and … Continue reading

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Do-It-Yourself Dubious Accounting

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism reports: Part of the hangover that followed the dot-com bubble was rampant accounting fraud. Before then, accounting chicanery was virtually unheard of in Fortune 500 companies. It instead cropped up at high fliers with loose … Continue reading

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William Lauder Needs a Lesson on What It Means to Be Public

Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism submits: I’m a bit late to this item from today’s Wall Street Journal because I generally skip its softball CEO interviews. However, they do give corporate leaders the opportunity to make unwitting self revelations. Here, … Continue reading

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Corrupt Finance Minister Watch: Miceli Goes, Patino Stays

If you had to guess, a few weeks ago, which Latin finance minister would be
forced to resign in the wake of a corruption scandal, your answer would be very
easy: Ricardo Patiño of Ecuador, who was censured by
his own congress on Friday for insider dealing in his own country’s debt –
a deal which reportedly
netted investors more than $150 million, while Ecuador itself made a healthy
$50 million.
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Mackey’s Sock-Puppetry is No Joke

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page weighs
in
today on the subject of John Mackey and his sock-puppetry.
"Apparently U.S. financial regulators don’t get the joke," says the
leader-writer, although I can’t see anyone else smiling in here.
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Bottled Water

I’m hoping that by the time China becomes the world’s dominant economic power, bottled water will be remembered as a 20th-Century curiosity, rather than a fact of life.
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Why Dell Won’t Get Delisted

In the staredown between Dell and Nasdaq, it’s the stock exchange, not the
computer company, which blinked
first
.
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Why Boards Shouldn’t Be Stuffed With CEOs

Adam Piore has an interesting look
at corporate boards
today. Two factoids jumped out at me:
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