One critical difference between a well-functioning city-state on the periphery of East Asia -- or a country like Canada -- and China, is the degree to which rules are predictable and enforced. Obvious or not, those tempted to bend or break the rules should recall such distinctions, as should the rest of us.
I recently served on a governance awards judging panel assembled by the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries (CSCS). Winners of the awards were announced at this organization's annual conference in Halifax last month. I participated in a plenary discussion to discuss some of the winning practices.
Boards should revitalize, as the American economy (and the world) is dependent on it. But they need to do so in a way that puts their own interests and reputations at risk. They need to be ruthless in recreating - and think only of the best interests of their enterprises. They need to "person proof" in other words, which is the theme of the NACD conference.
There is merit to Peter Munk's position. If shareholders truly believe in pay for performance, then it is equally important to attract and motivate executive talent in a downturn as it is in an upturn. This means, paradoxically, that a compensation committee will pay out more, in spite of low stock price, and rein in executive pay during an upturn.
B.C. taxpayers should be grateful to John Doyle for his persistent, hard-nosed work over the past six years. And perhaps six years is too short of a term, but renewal should not be an option. Now it's time for another watchdog to come in and give issues fresh eyes and a fresh voice, just as Doyle built on the work of previous auditors general.
When interests between management and shareholders become adverse, even through the regular course of events, it is important for boards to have their own set of lawyers who are independent from management and seen as objective and willing to act in the interests of directors, not management, and ultimately shareholders.
We'll drive, copilot, change the tunes, serve up the beverages, adjust the heat and ensure government doesn't fall asleep... but someone has to open the doors so we can get in the car. Unlock the doors of government and let citizens in, that is the mantra of imagineCalgary, now firmly in the hands of hardened bureaucrats. The language of imagineCalgary is not their mother tongue and they are struggling with just the basic translation, let alone the incredibly lofty and epic targets found within the imagineCalgary tome.
There is a civil discussion that is transparent and being debated publicly in Egypt. That is a case for celebration after decades of an autocracy. Nevertheless, there has been too much conversation on the role of Islam and not enough on the prerogatives of political powers. Not to belittle the problems, here are some of the issues of current debate.
I was one of the lucky few who was invited to attend a rare opportunity to have a roundtable discussion with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who was in Toronto for an exclusive speaking engagement as part of an ongoing speakers series. Annan answered our questions which covered various hot button topics including the ways towards a successful society, Iran, Romney and China. Here is what he said.
Recently, there have been some examples of shareholder activism, at Yahoo, Research in Motion and CP Rail. What does not seem to dawn on people (at least not completely) is that if public company boards really understood and did their jobs, there would be no need for "shareholder empowerment." The only question in responding to a "concerned" or activist shareholder is: what is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders?
Make no mistake about it. For companies that want to be perceived as operating "by the book," it's critical for their goals and standards to align with integrity. As Dan Ariely points out, none of us are above temptation. That's why organizations need to be. Here are my tips to CEOs for making their workplace -- both in and out of the office -- as free of scandal-causing temptations as humanly possible.