Barriers to Board Positions

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A recent report about the composition of Boards of Directors over the last seven years indicates that the greatest obstacle for minorities in gaining entry to the boardroom is the lack of operating or financial experience. According to the report, networks of white men who connect through college, work and social activities feel more comfortable… Read more »

A Good Case for Whistleblower Status?

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The executive director of an arts charity, D. Alexandra Dyer, was attacked with drain cleaner last year. On Friday, she was fired by the board of the charity, along with the financial officer who helped her unearth what the authorities have called a $750,000 embezzlement scheme. Questions: 1. What led up to the “Drano” attack?… Read more »

Corporate Culture Sinks the Firm

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The chief executive of Toshiba and two of his predecessors resigned, along with several lesser executives, over accusations that they drove the company to overstate its earnings by $1.2 billion over the last seven years. The figure is equal to about a third of the pretax profits that Toshiba reported during that period. Questions: 1…. Read more »

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

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Walmart’s board elected a new chairman at its annual stockholders’ meeting last week. As only the third chairman in the retail giant’s history, the post was passed on to a member of the founding Walton family. Questions: 1. What type of background does Mr. Penner have that will be beneficial in this post? 2. Why… Read more »

Urban Outfitters

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Questions: 1. What type of public relations problem did Urban Outfitter’s have in September 2014? 2. Explain the importance of Urban Outfitter’s ability to exceed analysts predictions for the fourth quarter. 3. Urban Outfitters announced that its board of directors recently approved a repurchase of 20 million shares under a share repurchase program. What are… Read more »

Bad Blood

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Questions: 1. Explain why this is such an unusual labor action. 2. Based on John A. Davis’ blog, what could the board chairman do to help rebuild family unity and commitment to Market Basket? 3. At this point, Market Basket as a continuing entity is hemorrhaging financially. From a corporate governance standpoint, do you think… Read more »

No Symbolic Message of Contrition for Jamie Dimon

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What a difference a year makes for Jamie Dimon! Last year, he had half of his paycheck cut to a measley $11.5 million for an embarrassing multi-million dollar trading blowup that resulted in $1 billion in fines. This year, after Chase paid the feds $20 billion in penalties for transgressions committed on Dimon’s watch, JPMorgan’s… Read more »

Could you live on $8M a month?

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Equilar Inc., the executive compensation analysis firm, found that the median 2012 pay package came in at $15.1 million — a leap of 16 percent from 2011. However, at 19 percent in 2012, that median stock market returns for these companies was only three percentage points higher than the pay raise. Lawrence J. Ellison, founder… Read more »

Do Stockholders Really Have Rights?

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In a recent article by James Stewart, it was noted that 41 directors of public companies lost their elections last year, but remained at their posts. How can this be, if this is a right of the stockholders? Stewart even found that directors who resign after losing votes don’t necessarily leave the board. Questions: 1…. Read more »

CEO Quits Effective Immediately

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In a surprise move, Citigroup announced on Tuesday that Vikram S. Pandit, the bank’s chief executive, had resigned, effective immediately. While his unexpectedly fast departure has raised many questions, critics said there were many signs that the end was near for Pandit. Questions: 1. How long had Mr. Pandit been chief executive of Citigroup? 2…. Read more »