Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What Iceberg? Just Glide to the Next Boardroom

editorial comment -- this is just disgusting

YOU might think that board members overseeing businesses that cratered in the credit crisis would be disqualified from serving as directors at other public companies. 

You would, however, be wrong.

Directors who were supposedly minding the store as disaster struck at companies like Countrywide Financial, Washington Mutual or Fannie Mae have not all been banished from other boardrooms. In many cases, directors just seem to skate away from company woes that occurred on their watch.

To some investors, this is an example of the refusal of those involved in the debacle to accept responsibility for it. Whether you are talking about top executives loading up on leverage, regulators who slept while companies took on titanic risks or mortgage lenders that made thousands of dubious loans, few in this crowd have acknowledged culpability. Taxpayers and shareholders, meanwhile, who had nothing to do with the problems, are left holding the bag.

"None of these directors have stood up and said, 'We made a mistake here by not calling management to account,' " said Paul Hodgson, senior research associate at the Corporate Library, a corporate governance research firm. "They have certainly avoided the limelight as far as blame is concerned."


“Here’s a conversation you’ll never hear: ‘Yes, I get paid $475,000 a year. I play golf with the C.E.O.; he’s a personal friend. I go to interesting places for board meetings, I am around interesting people, and I would never say one word that would jeopardize my position on the board.’”

Continue Reading