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Work Poll: Clean Yer Boards

With corporate scandals in the news once again (see Nortel Gets Federal Subpoena), looks like a good time to check in with the members of our audience in Light Reading's latest Work Poll.

There's plenty of buck-passing going on with many of these scandals. Okay, so shunting responsibility is never a really good idea. But what about the grown-ups that are supposed to be minding the shop – the board of directors?

We used our latest poll on employment issues to ask about role and composition of boards, and we found most folks wanting in new procedures. For example:

Fifty-eight percent of the people who have taken the poll so far agree that an independent body should investigate the board of a scandal-plagued company, and that those responsible should be removed. This compares with 31 percent who think the directors should resign, since the scandal happened on their watch, and 12 percent who would give them the benefit of the doubt.

The results also show:

  • Sixty-eight percent of respondents say a company's board should notify the proper authorities and hold regular conference calls with shareholders at the first sign of trouble. Twenty-three percent advise patience, while 12 percent want to see rolling heads.
  • "Objectivity," with 42 percent of votes, and "experience," with 31 percent of votes, are the most attractive qualities in a board member – although "dimples" can also help, according to another 8 percent.
  • A majority of voters (69 percent) think venture capitalists are valuable on the board but should not control the future of the company.


To take this poll and see the results in detail, simply click here.

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

BlueWater66 12/5/2012 | 1:47:11 AM
re: Work Poll: Clean Yer Boards Sorry. Have to disagree with the characterization of "grown-up BOD members watching the shop". My personal perspective is that companies should focus on (1) Building a profitable product and (2) Selling it to good customers.

Oddly, BOD tend to be filled with #[email protected]%$#%! money managers or VCs who are very concerned with getting in low and getting out high. The underlying business is almost an afterthought. Inside dealing and clubby favors rule to roost.

Another "odd" effect .... they are so removed from the actual process of creating value, that they get edgy and end up creating expensive projects with Consultants, Investment Banks, SAP-Oracle Salesmen and other groups that feed off them...... waste of time.

Our economic system is relatively efficient, but it rewards people who manage money and use that as an excuse to obtain power. The individuals who actually create value are often left out of the loop ...
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 1:47:09 AM
re: Work Poll: Clean Yer Boards Our economic system is relatively efficient, but it rewards people who manage money and use that as an excuse to obtain power. The individuals who actually create value are often left out of the loop ...

Amen.

The companies that solve this problem will become incredibly wealthy. Witness google, for example.
steve 12/5/2012 | 1:46:49 AM
re: Work Poll: Clean Yer Boards Not to be difficult, but Google is actually a terrible example of corporate governance and is full of management and board entrenchment devices: staggered board, different series of stock, etc.

If Google's governing structure was parachuted into a traditional company shareholders and corporate governance types would be rioting in the streets.
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 1:46:47 AM
re: Work Poll: Clean Yer Boards Stevery: The individuals who actually create value are often left out of the loop ...

balto: If Google's governing structure was parachuted into a traditional company shareholders and corporate governance types would be rioting in the streets.

I agree. It is virtually impossible to find the value-creators in a traditional company in our system. There's too many pretenders in the way. The BODs & stockholders have virtually no viable method of sorting the shite from the shinola.

Google managed to entrench the people who created the value, which contributed to its overwhelming creation of value.
steve 12/5/2012 | 1:46:38 AM
re: Work Poll: Clean Yer Boards But they are entrenching the people who HISTORICALLY created value. What if they no longer create value. Cisco had three CEOs before Chambers showed up. What if Len Bosack was still CEO? None of us would be reading about IOS today.

But it is certainly their right to structure it this way, just as it is my right to not buy any stock.

The problem I have is that they should not try to position Google as this saviour of capitalism and a do-gooder for the little guy when they are utilizing these techniques.

Those who want to flame me for talking about Google on LR note that I mentioned IOS here also.....
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