Friday, March 13, 2009

The corporate world remains the last bastion of dictatorship

Corporate reforms from The Big Picture by T T Ram Mohan
Leave aside the big talk of 'reforming capitalism'. That means all things to all people. Concretely, what can one expect by way of reforms in the corporate world? From a recent story in the FT, I flagged the following:
The US Congress has voted to give shareholders an annual vote on executive pay, although this will be a non-binding vote
Shareholders may get the right to nominate candidates to the board- and to remove non-performing directors. These have been management's prerogative so far
Redesign of executive compensation with less liberal stock options for people at the top.
An improvement in the composition of corporate boards- board members will need to demonstrate better expertise than playing golf.

Is that good enough? Well, it's a good start. But I am a bit of a radical when it comes to corporate reform. I happen to think there is a fundamental problem with the modern corporation: excessive concentration of powers in the CEO. The world over, democracy has gained ground at the level of nations.

But the corporate world remains the last bastion of dictatorship. Greater diffusion of powers and more participative decision-making are what companies lack - and which is why they are prone to disaster. Serious reform is making these things happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment