ESG Archive

Jun 01, 1996
Ever sat in a restaurant and wondered how everything was going to fit on your table? Side plates perched precariously on the edge, begging to make a suicidal leap. And if you dared to lift your wine glass, there was a fair chance that the salad bowl would rapidly gobble up the available space. Next time you're in that position, spare a thought for the directors at the newly merged Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. Sixty-nine of them will be crowding round the table fo...
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Jun 01, 1996
It's strange how fads come and go and how few people remember what had been the norm only a few years ago. That is clearly the case in the current movement toward elimination of retirement benefit plans for outside directors. From the brouhaha being made by corporate reformers, one would think that pensions for outside directors were a long-entrenched phenomenon. The fact is, however, that for the most part such pensions started becoming popular only in the ea...
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May 01, 1996
and your stock price is dropping like a stone. Do you panic? Or immediately put into action your crisis management plan? Your answer could determine whether the long-term impact of the crisis is negative or positive. Good crisis management is all about creating positive perceptions from what may look like a bottomless pit of negative comment. That holds true whatever the crisis and whatever the audience. For IR practitioners the onset of a crisis may well mean...
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May 01, 1996
Like so much else in life, the annual proxy round has become a more complicated affair over recent years. Time was when proxy fights were launched by corporate raiders, governance boffins or socio-political banner-wavers and gadflies. In each case the motives were distinct. The raiders were fighting for control; the activists were fighting over issues like staggered boards, confidential voting or poison pills; and the banner-wavers and gadflies were gunning for...
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May 01, 1996
When the plane carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and a group of US executives went down near Dubrovnik, President Bill Clinton intoned that they were 'the best of America.' Nihil nisi bonum de mortu est, a Roman once said. Speak nothing but good of the dead. He said nothing of overlarding the cake, and Clinton's words evoke a community that wants to eat its cake on earth and save it for heaven as well. I should rush to say that I have no reason to suspect t...
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May 01, 1996
Annual meetings often get a bad press, with critics writing them off as empty rituals. And it's certainly easy enough to challenge their worth. They are expensive events and the only people who typically turn up are the bored or the retired, who are mostly interested in the free lunch, the giveaways and the opportunity for a day out. For institutional investors and analysts, the physical manifestation of this spring rite has long been an irrelevant exercise and they ...
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May 01, 1996
Corporate IR professionals, by and large, tend to practise in a vacuum - their own corporate cocoon - working hard to make their programme value-adding, but never really knowing how successful they have been. Or not. Certainly, many of them belong to professional IR bodies, such as the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), the Investor Relations Society (IRS), or one of the many other societies now established around the world. They attend meetings and...
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May 01, 1996
So why did Wall Street take a dive when the government announced the biggest increase in jobs for more than a decade?' Marcia asked. On my way home from a vacation in the Caribbean, I'd planned to spend my time at Miami airport reading the novel I'd picked up at the bookstore. In fact, I'd lowered my standards and bought a paperback with gold writing on the cover - something that anyone with any pretensions to intelligence should never do, even if it is written...
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May 01, 1996
It took decades for American fund managers to assert their stock ownership rights in public companies. But in the Czech Republic, where nearly 70 per cent of stock is owned by investment funds, the power of fund managers has been crystal clear since the launch of the privatisation process. Indeed, the Czech market is left wondering whether those running investment funds want to be fund managers or industrial barons. In fact no market has been more open to deve...
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Apr 01, 1996
I always thought of TRW Inc as an ogre company, the one that snoops into my private financial affairs and sells that information to whomever will pay. It is one of the three leading credit-reporting agencies in the US, and one that is regularly hauled up in front of Congress to talk about whether it is guilty of invading the privacy of Americans. Little did I realise - like plenty of other Americans, I suspect - that credit-reporting is only a small part of TRW...
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