Monday, February 4, 2008

How Presidential!

Both the U.S. President and his corporate counterparts get advice from staff and hired guns. Which presidential advisor was described as "an unapologetic apologist for the days of the Imperial C.E.O."? Consider the following comments for more clues:

"Come on, you can say it. I’m a professional entrencher of management.”

It turns out voters are much like shareholders, people with little rights once the kingly officeholder takes their seat.

In the memo, a manifesto about the responsibilities of board members, the adviser wrote that “limits on executive compensation, splitting the role of chairman and C.E.O. and efforts to impose shareholder referenda on matters that have been the province of boards should be resisted.”

Anyone who might expose malfeasance, needs to be stomped down in both industry and government.

What is more, the adviser suggested that boards should resist “the trend of having the audit committee or a special committee of independent directors investigate almost all whistle-blowing complaints, recognizing how disruptive such investigations are, and being judicious in deciding what really warrants investigation.”

President Bush's derision of whistleblowers is also clear. The same day Bush showed up on Wall Street to dress down a bunch of NYSE exchange traders for excessive executive compensation. George talked about relaxing Sarbanes-Oxley, which require corporations to investigate whistleblower complaints.

Who wants to return to an era when chief executives could do whatever they wanted, when boards/legislators were mainly rubber stamps and shareholders/voters had only one way to express their discontent: sell their shares.?

I'm afraid we're already there...