Halliburton-Baker blowup reverberates beyond oil

May 2, 2016

The $35 bln oil-services deal is the latest to buckle under regulatory pressure this year, after Pfizer’s bid for Allergan. Baker Hughes pockets a $3.5 bln break fee at Halliburton owners’ expense. Punishing the boss and board would yield a more enduring lesson in M&A hubris.

Wells Fargo shows rivals how CEO succession’s done

November 18, 2015

JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon has pushed out or lost possible heirs. BofA and Citi have created chaos at the top. But the most valuable U.S. bank has positioned Tim Sloan to replace John Stumpf while also grooming other long-serving executives to step in. It’s a lesson in leadership.

Rob Cox: Double-duty CEOs are a worrisome trend

By Rob Cox
August 27, 2015

Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne may don another hat to run Ferrari. Like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk, however, he’s only human. Investors in public companies, especially young or challenged ones, require full attention from a leader. That’s all but impossible when he’s running two.

Shouldn’t Credit Suisse and StanChart swap CEOs?

By Rob Cox
July 20, 2015

Bill Winters is beginning his tenure as new boss of the emerging markets lender at the same time that Tidjane Thiam takes charge of the Swiss investment and private bank. Both are capable executives, but their experiences seem uncannily to better suit the other’s job.

StanChart board clearout is only the first step

February 26, 2015

Installing Bill Winters as CEO to replace Peter Sands ends the short-term uncertainty about the bank’s leadership. But the former JPMorgan executive will face an overflowing inbox when he takes charge in June. Capital, credit quality and returns will be the immediate priorities.

MetLife CEO should revel in his anonymity

By Rob Cox
July 29, 2014

That almost no one knows ol’ so-and-so is good for shareholders. How he handles the mega-insurer’s likely designation as a systemic threat could change that. A Jamie Dimon-style fight would be foolish. Better to speak softly and keep the name Steve Kandarian out of headlines.

Globalization stops short at the corporate suite

February 28, 2012

The global war for talent is a popular justification for exorbitant CEO pay. But with few exceptions, expat chiefs are still a tiny minority. It’s bad news for shareholders in high-pay hubs like the United States and Britain who could find better-value stewards overseas.

Don’t blame Japan for foreign CEO departures

April 20, 2012

Yes, its insular culture may have alienated bosses at Nippon Sheet Glass, Olympus and Nomura. But merger pains, fraud and headstrong directors are problems everywhere. The more they go abroad, the more Japanese companies will have foreign executives - and not all will work out.

BP’s heir has right accent but not background

July 26, 2010

Bob Dudley, BP's likely next chief, may be a superb diplomat. But the American executive's roots at Amoco -- the oil company BP acquired in 1998, and which has been the source of most of its safety problems -- make him a less than ideal choice to reform BP's flawed corporate culture. A fresh hire from outside arguably stands a better chance of transforming BP.

BP’s governance lesson: don’t trust formulas

June 18, 2010

The Gulf of Mexico disaster has wrecked many reputations. BP, President Barack Obama and the whole offshore drilling business are all struggling under the weight of an uncontrolled flow of oil. A key feature of British corporate governance -- a separation of the role of chairman and chief executive -- is also under threat.