Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No Recourse

As Yahoo lays off a tenth of its staff, shareholders must be asking why, given a great opportunity, they didn't take the money and run. But, the shareholders have been sold short in a criminal way by the management of this company, where there was a $47bn offer on the table and the company is now worth just $17bn - and going down. But, in the US, management teams seem to have little or no accountability despite stupid laws like Sarbanes Oxley which were slated to bring them to account.

Of course, I have personal experience of this from the time David McCourt managed to run roughsod over Narrowstep shareholders creating a welter of hatred of the like I have experienced before and selling the company for next to nothing to a rival after decimating the company. Europe's leading VMS company is, as a result, worthless. The company's non-execs and its shareholders have been negligent in their duties, as the only person to dissent on the board testified.

If anything comes out of the current round of navel gazing, resulting from the almost total failure of the financial system, it should be that Boards should be accountable to their shareholders. We seem to have reached a position where the owners, or the major stakeholders in companies have less power than a few individuals who are the temporary guardians of these organizations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree... In the case of a publicly traded company, is it not the board's duty as a team that is comprised of both stakeholders in the company, and supposedly impartial experts in the industry to act as a sort of check and balance to the reigning executive team???

Perhaps some REAL corporate governance coupled with realistic expectations from the board of some of the top financial firms could have saved the western world from the current tailspin (actually nose-dive)we have to deal with today and for many years to come.

But I guess that is just one of those idealistic business practices that exists only in university text books.

If I'm wrong, then please respond with the ticker symbol to this wholly grail... A recession-proof, poster child of business ethics!