ESG Archive

Jun 01, 1998
What a difference a couple of years can make. Not so long ago many European and Asian companies would not even give the time of day to the notion of venturing into the world of share buy-backs. Almighty obstacles - some real, some convenient - lay in their path in the form of legislative difficulties, tax penalties and the like. In several markets there have been companies willing to nudge slow-moving governments toward legislative or regulatory reform by findi...
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May 01, 1998
The old wartime tune 'You Made Me Love You' may ring in Safety- Kleen's ears. Led by founder and CEO Donald Brinckman, the Illinois-based waste recycler announced in August 1997 that it was investigating 'strategic options' to enhance shareholder value. In November, trumpeted by a media blitz, Safety-Kleen's board agreed to a merger with a consortium led by Ontario-based Philip Services Corp. But Safety-Kleen wasn't to be swept up so easily. South Carolina-bas...
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May 01, 1998
The investor relations function at your company is under attack. You've seen the signs. Something's up and, suddenly, no-one's letting you in on the secrets anymore. Are those whisperings by the coffee machine about you? Did that door swing shut as you walked past? Is the CEO really in a meeting every time you call? It may not manifest itself in quite this fashion but there are times in every company when the IR function has to show what it's worth. At the wor...
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May 01, 1998
In Britain, for many years, there was a Flat Earth Society that dismissed all those orbital snapshots of the world as trick photography. Its small but dedicated band of followers provided some dimple-teasing amusement for reporters and a strong testament to the power of faith to flatten globes. I remembered them when the seven CEOs of the tobacco companies stood in a row in 1974 and swore to Congress that their product wasn't addictive, and that the case for s...
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May 01, 1998
Which often-disregarded group of investors is right under the IRO's nose? The answer: employees. Through Esops, stock options, 401k plans and other investment schemes, employees are a key part of many companies' shareholder mix. Instead of taking them for granted, some IR departments have launched efforts to educate workers about their stake in the company and how each individual can promote shareholder value. Michael Watras, president and CEO of Manhattan-base...
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May 01, 1998
There may be many specters haunting Europe today but the specter of communism isn't one of them. The dramatic phrase of Marx and Engels no longer rings true. But does that mean that none of what follows rings true either? It was March 15 of this year and I was relaxing after a splendid Sunday lunch in an imposing house in Highgate, the prosperous north London suburb. Veronica, my hostess, who is a high-powered commercial lawyer, had some work to catch up on s...
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May 01, 1998
Ira Millstein, Bob Denham and Bill Crist led a lively debate last month at the Conference Board's spring global corporate governance symposium, with delegates from 14 countries. Japanese CEOs have criticized the American model of corporate governance as too oriented toward shareholders at the expense of other stakeholders, such as employees. On the other hand, some say stakeholder models of governance have been too unresponsive to changing economic requirement...
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May 01, 1998
Providing senior management with some form of feedback as to the real value of the IR function has to be one of the most important aspects of an IR officer's job. It may, as this month's cover story suggests, sometimes be necessary just to keep you in that job in the first place. But it shouldn't just be viewed as a means of rescuing an IR function under threat. It's an integral part of the job which many of those new to the profession overlook. Perhaps that's...
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Apr 01, 1998
It was a night to remember for the financial community in Toronto. According to Allelix's IRO Jerry Ormiston, glitz and glamor is not their usual fare. 'Typical Canadian events are quiet and reserved. There might be a low-key dinner and a bit of networking but then people will make their way home. This was different. It was glamorous. It was prestigious. It gave an upbeat viewpoint of our activities, something that is important for IR as well as the financial communi...
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Apr 01, 1998
You're not going to get far in IR if you consider the job to be a one-way information flow. That should be one of the first lessons learnt by any investor relations officer. Time and again you'll hear those practiced in the art say that you should act as both a giver and receiver of information: the job involves managing the expectations of the financial community but is equally about feeding information from the market back to management. In both respects you...
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