Breakingviews

The FIFA big boss guide to executive survival

May 28, 2015

Soccer’s supremo Sepp Blatter may win a fifth four-year presidency at the scandal-wracked governing body. Even if he fails, his tenacity is remarkable. It owes much to FIFA’s financial success, but also cumbersome governance and tin ears. Those help all boardroom Machiavellis.

Rob Cox: Why Remington’s investors shouldn’t sell

May 19, 2015

Gun safety groups and Snoop Dogg pressured Cerberus to cleave the maker of a notorious assault rifle from its funds. Now Cerberus can get back to work raising money. Social activists need to behave more like their shareholder brethren to have any hope of changing this business.

SoftBank’s next boss more symbol than succession

May 12, 2015

Chairman Masayoshi Son has no plans to retire but has named ex-Google executive Nikesh Arora as his likely successor. Appointing a foreigner to the role may be mainly a way for SoftBank to gild its international credentials, but the gesture is still a valuable one.

Alibaba generation shift treats investors as kids

May 8, 2015

The e-commerce group is swapping its chief executive for a younger insider. The plan was drawn up before the company’s IPO. Yet Alibaba has offered no explanation. Founder Jack Ma wants to promote young leaders, but investors deserve adult answers on who makes decisions and why.

U.S. trucker offers Facebook owners ride to future

May 7, 2015

Swift Transportation and the social networking giant face votes to dump feudalistic dual-share structures. Upset about their founder-CEO, the decades-old shipper’s second-class holders backed the idea last year. Facebook owners one day may find themselves similarly frustrated.

Buffett makes golden case for Teflon force field

May 4, 2015

At a 50th anniversary Woodstock for Capitalism celebration, the Oracle of Omaha easily parried queries and concerns about Coke, IBM, NetJets and more. While Berkshire Hathaway will one day miss Buffett’s investing nous, his human shield powers may be his most undervalued quality.

DuPont investors: give Peltz a chance

April 28, 2015

Proxy firm ISS is backing the activist and a second nominee. The case isn’t very strong. But Peltz on his own has a track record and a $1.8 bln stake. He’d get a year and then it would be up to the $65 bln chemical group whether to give him an age waiver to stand for re-election.

Thiam needs to think big at Credit Suisse

April 21, 2015

Incoming CEO Tidjane Thiam is inheriting a mixed bag. First-quarter net profit surged 23 pct as trading and wealth management shone. But underwriting and M&A revenues fell, and risk-weighted assets remain high. The Swiss bank needs more capital and less investment banking.

Request for IBM activism likely falls on deaf ears

April 6, 2015

Some big shareholders are begging for a Big Blue shake-up. They have reason to be dissatisfied – 11 quarters of falling revenue have sent the shares into a slump. Snag is IBM has already exhausted the typical activist playbook of tapping the balance sheet, buybacks and disposals.

India’s boardroom diversity drive has weird result

March 27, 2015

Companies have met demands they dilute male dominance by installing wives and stepmothers as directors. Some women now sit on as many seven boards. Indian corporate governance needs improving and gender diversity can boost financial returns. But mandating change isn’t the answer.