Breakingviews

CBS board changes herald Viacom game of thrones

February 4, 2016

Sumner Redstone is out as chairman of half his $40 bln empire, with the job going to the CEO. That swaps one kind of poor governance for another but at least Les Moonves has done well for shareholders. A double grip on power at Viacom may not come so easily to Philippe Dauman.

Managerial competence makes the difference in 2016

January 5, 2016

Markets are getting choppier. Capital is becoming more expensive in the world’s largest economy. Globalization is taking big knocks. Economic growth is middling. Good managers will distinguish winners from losers as much as valuable assets do from lousy liabilities.

Volkswagen top brass will be up for the chop

December 31, 2015

The German carmaker’s chairman and CEO are both new to their roles. But in 2016, huge emissions-cheating fines and a scathing external report on VW’s governance will shine a spotlight on leaving long-term insiders in charge. Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch looks particularly exposed.

Jamie Dimon, 10 years on, is hard bank CEO to beat

December 30, 2015

Looking back on a decade running JPMorgan, the boss has had missteps like the London Whale, big legal fines and clashes with regulators. Yet Dimon has fashioned a bank with leading market share, top-tier returns and a head start in fintech. It’s well placed for the next 10 years.

Worst CEO job in America for 2016? P&G

December 29, 2015

David Taylor will struggle to make his mark on the lumbering $200 bln giant. His predecessor-turned-Chairman A.G. Lafley already axed weaker brands, leaving Taylor to sort out growth. He may be forced to break up the Tide-to-Pampers icon or spend the year fighting calls to do so.

Freeport chairman exit eases credibility problem

December 28, 2015

James “Jim Bob” Moffett is leaving the $9 bln mining group he helped found amid pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn. It’s a needed step to restore confidence after faux pas including an ill-timed, cozy-looking 2012 oil deal. His replacement, though, has his work cut out.

Valeant’s latest fix reinforces its challenges

December 28, 2015

The $38 bln drug company is handing the reins to three execs while CEO Mike Pearson is on medical leave. And three directors will “oversee and support” them. The double triumvirate shows how reliant on one man Valeant now is as debt, R&D and strategy issues take center stage.

Theranos’ wounded credibility hobbles all unicorns

December 21, 2015

The blood-analysis company faces new charges of finagling with its herpes test, a product essential to its success. Unless the firm wins vindication from independent experts, the damage may be too serious to fix. That harms similar startups, whose survival depends on trust.

Pactual an arresting case against dual-class stock

December 2, 2015

Incarcerated boss André Esteves has ceded voting control at the investment bank in a stock swap with his partners. It’s a neat fix, but reveals yet another risk of supervoting stock. Investors in companies with similar structures, like Google and Moelis, should take heed.

Zuckerberg’s supervoting shares prove double-edged

December 2, 2015

Investors may one day regret the founder’s grip on Facebook. For now, though, it allows him to retain control while starting a long process of giving away 99 pct of his $45 bln of stock. The beneficiaries of Zuckerberg’s charity will see the silver lining to the governance flaw.