So [Gary] Wilson can say, with more than a little credibility, that the boards supposedly overseeing management are instead packed with lackeys with appalling frequency. It’s a familiar complaint but one that he believes is responsible for out-of-control pay, the short-term greed that helped spawn the recent financial meltdown and a staggering waste of resources. Wilson’s solution: Abolish the joint role of chief executive and chairman and install independent bosses to oversee boards.
Every board meeting should end with an executive session. The term executive session is an oxymoron because it is a meeting of all the board members other than the executives of the company.The first time most CEOs hear of this idea, they hate it. The words “we want to meet without you” strike fear in the hearts of most CEOs. And understandably so.
How do you measure the cost of FCPA compliance? Put another way, can your company afford not to be FCPA compliant? What will the costs be if there are allegations of bribery and corruption in your company? Will the investigative costs exceed $100 million as they may well do in Avon’s case? Will your fine, penalty and any profit disgorgement exceed $550 million as happened with Halliburton or simply be in the $330-$340 million range as with its former Joint Venture partners?
Last month, the search engine giant published a press release touting its first-quarter 2010 results—without actually detailing what the results were. Instead, it directed anybody curious to visit Google’s investors relations Website and announced that it intends to make all future announcements about financial performance exclusively through news posted there.
That’s a departure from prevalent practice in Corporate America, which is to publish the full text of earnings information in a press release. It also puts Google in the vanguard of companies taking advantage of guidance the Securities and Exchange Commission published nearly two years ago to encourage companies to use disclosure via Website more often.