Breakingviews

Toshiba fluffs leadership overhaul

May 9, 2016

The scandal-hit Japanese group named two new bosses. Neither is ideal: the CEO is a clean pair of hands but hails from a now non-core business. The chairman is an insider who oversaw big writedowns at the U.S. energy unit. It’s a setback to an otherwise decent effort to clean up.

Mitsubishi Motors fiasco shows reforms lack oomph

May 5, 2016

The carmaker’s legacy of dodgy testing is astonishing. At best, management and directors were in the dark for 25 years. The firm badly needs a stronger board and better internal controls. For all the talk of improved corporate governance, much of Japan Inc is similarly lacking.

Cox: What Mark Zuckerberg could learn in Quebec

By Rob Cox
April 28, 2016

The founders of mini-mart leviathan Couche-Tard devised a clever way to balance supporters and detractors of dual-class stock by eliminating voting rights over time. The idea would suit Facebook and many others, if only bad tendencies fueled by ego could somehow be overcome.

Priceline embarrassment goes beyond CEO dalliance

By Rob Cox
April 28, 2016

The $68 bln travel website parted ways with Darren Huston citing “activities inconsistent with the board’s expectations for executive conduct.” Resorting to a former boss as a stopgap isn’t disastrous, but it suggests the board missed a trick by not bedding down succession.

BP’s $20 mln Dudley payout looks crass but isn’t

April 14, 2016

The oil major faces an uproar over Chief Executive Bob Dudley’s bumper remuneration package despite the company slashing jobs and recording losses last year. But the criticism may be unfair. Dudley has hit key targets and drawn a line under the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Disney leadership hitch evokes Eisner era

April 7, 2016

After losing his heir apparent, Bob Iger may opt to stick around beyond a planned 2018 retirement date. His predecessor, Michael Eisner, botched a succession plan and overstayed his welcome after a successful first decade as CEO. There’s a danger Disney history repeats itself.

CalPERS learns social responsibility can be a drag

April 5, 2016

The $290 bln California pension fund may reinvest in tobacco stocks after a report found that exiting the sector cost it $3 bln over 15 years. There’s more to the idea than higher returns, though. Engaging financially with controversial firms can be a better way to effect change.

Valeant’s multiple organ failure puts it in ICU

March 21, 2016

The beleaguered drugmaker has found accounting improprieties. It is booting CEO Mike Pearson but ex-CFO Howard Schiller has refused to quit as a director. The board, the numbers and the strategy are fractured. Some $30 bln of debt means Valeant risks an Enron or WorldCom endgame.

Credit Suisse’s Thiam needs a new new strategy

March 17, 2016

Boss Tidjane Thiam set out to double pre-tax profit in Asia, and the same in wealth management. China’s slowdown and a money-laundering case show events are overtaking him. Time for a face-saving rethink – or in bank-speak, a strategic acceleration.

John Gutfreund takes old Wall St model to grave

March 10, 2016

The ex-Salomon Brothers boss led investment banks from partnerships into prop trading – and ended up in a scandal. His era was, at least, one where bankers’ excesses didn’t put the system at risk. That lends his kind of risk taking a degree of perverse charm that will be missed.