The iTTi Manifesto: Improving Accountability for Information Technology

itti-manifestoWe are living a time of sad celebration: just a few weeks ago, we were honoring the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the First Great War. For sure, lots of people remember the many unfortunate consequences – both personal and social, including corporate – it provoked; but, maybe, only a few remember the savvy musings of Georges B. Clemenceau.

A former journalist, Clemenceau was Prime Minister of France during World War I. At that time he stated “La guerre! C’est une chose trop grave pour la confier à des militaires” (“War! Something too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military”); a statement one could assume that was not well received, even misunderstood, by those directly concerned (especially within the militia). But a statement of which we could, nowadays, take advantage in our corporate world.

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Video: Heads or Tails? The Art and Science of Executive Compensation

SVDXAll directors are keenly aware of their responsibility in setting executive and CEO compensation. Increased external pressure on — and opinions about — CEO pay and more crowded meeting agendas limit the available time for meaningful discussion and make this role more challenging than ever. The stakes in getting executive compensation right are high, with real opportunities to engage leadership and drive business results, but also with real risks of poor outcomes. Continue Reading →

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Corporate Political Spending Disclosure: Strategic Communications Plan

Corporate Political Spending PollIn the absence of mandatory disclosure, companies are increasingly, voluntarily adopting disclosure policies for their corporate political spending – largely in response to pressure from shareholders, investor advocates, the media, political groups and others. In this articleChuck Nathan suggests that voluntary disclosure may or likely will become the norm – at least among larger companies – within the next few years. Given that potential, he provides some timely, seasoned advice – namely, that companies undertaking or considering such disclosure do so only in the context of a strategic communication plan that includes these critical elements: Continue Reading →

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FedEx: Proxy Vote Score 42

fedex-logoFedEx $FDX, which provides transportation, e-commerce, and business services in the United States and internationally, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 9/29/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 9/20/2014.  I voted with management 42% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 42.  View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the FedEx 2014 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Heads Or Tails? The Art And Science Of Executive Compensation

SVDXI thought the title of the program referred to heads I win, tails you lose. Now, I’m thinking ‘art’ is one side of the compensation committee coin, ‘science’ the other. Titles that keep us on our toes – just like the programs held by the Silicon Valley Directors Exchange and the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford Law. The stakes in getting executive compensation right are high, with real opportunities to engage leadership and drive business results, but also with real risks of poor outcomes. As advertized: Continue Reading →

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Jack Bogle on Diversified Portfolios vs Speculation

Jack Bogle

Jack Bogle

Buying and holding stocks and bonds for the long term and maintaining a diversified portfolio are still the smartest strategies for the average investor, says Vanguard founder Jack Bogle in answer to Mark Cuban and other critics of these traditional approaches. In the Big Interview with Journal columnist Jason Zweig, Bogle takes aim at the culture of market speculation. Betting on long odds, he says, “doesn’t pay off very often.” Continue Reading →

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Research Design: Advance Proxy Vote Disclosers

P&I Proxy Voters Cartoon re fiduciary dutyAs I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Council of Institutional Investors Fall 2014 Conference: Meeting Availability, I’m encouraging a research project looking into the impact that funds announcing their proxy votes in advance have or can have. I’ve joined with Pensions&Investments in arguing funds have a fiduciary duty to make such advance proxy vote disclosures when that could influence the outcome. Now I want to see if that condition ever applies. Under what circumstances is advance disclosure likely to influence the outcome of corporate elections? Continue Reading →

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Council of Institutional Investors Fall 2014 Conference: Meeting Availability

CIIJames McRitchie, the publisher of Corporate Governance and one of three retail shareowners accused in the New York Times of holding Corporate America ‘hostage,’ will be in Los Angeles September 29 through October 1 attending the Council of Institutional Investors Fall 2014 Conference.Shareholders with big stick

I am eager to meet with readers to discuss activist corporate governance strategies and how we can work together. Outlined below are some projects I’m working on. If you’d like to discuss any of them or other possible areas for cooperation, please contact me prior to the conference. Additionally, I am always interested in guest posts. Reach out to thousands, especially our under-covered readers in Beijing and India.  Continue Reading →

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Valdes Death Marks End to an Era of Corruption at CalPERS

Charles P. Valdes, CSEA President, 1979-83Charles P. “Chuck” Valdes and I first met when he was the President of the California State Employees Association (CSEA) in 1979 or the early 1980s. California state employees had just won collective bargaining rights.  I was advocating that CSEA affiliate with SEIU to increase solidarity between state and private employees. I was struck by his free use of an expense account. My suspicions only grew over the years as I learned how he loved to be wined and dined. Years later, as the ethics officer for my department, I attended an ethics training for CalPERS board members and executives. When told of one reporting requirement related to documenting the acceptance of gifts, Valdes openly said he would refuse to comply. Continue Reading →

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Organize for Corporate Accountability

CorporateState_MEI think it was Dina Medland who got many of us in the #corpgov Twitter world, tweeting cartoons on Sunday (#cartoonsunday). These tweets and retweets get ‘read’ far more than most of our actual work-related efforts, certainly more than mine.

Thankfully, they offer a quick distraction and usually a hint of insight on the weekend when most have a little more time for reflection and sorting through priorities. Continue Reading →

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David Harvey & Gar Alperovitz on Sustainable Capitalism

Gar Alperovitz

Gar Alperovitz

Sustainable capitalism, or is that even possible? David Harvey and Gar Alperovitz dig into the failure of capitalism, the hope presented by worker co-ops, and what activists fighting for a just economy must do to get there. You could say they are living in a dream-world, but isn’t it be a nice one? We can change the economy to work for everyone but powerful forces are lined up against any such changes.  Continue Reading →

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September 11th

We must never forget there was another September 11th, long before our own, when so many dreams were crushed. While our September 11, 2001 was imposed on us by Islamic terrorists, the leaders of our great nation imposed its own form of terrorism with the September 11, 1973 military coup against the democratically elected government of Chile.  Continue Reading →

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Tracey L. McNeil Named First SEC Ombudsman

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Tracey L. McNeil has been selected as the first ombudsman for the agency. Seal of SEC Ms. McNeil will begin her new post on September 22.  She currently is a senior counsel in the SEC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI), an office created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.  In this position, she has advised the director of OMWI in establishing the office and has worked to ensure the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities, women, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses in all business and activities of the agency.   Continue Reading →

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Brent Fields to Track Support of SEC Petition on Political Spending

Make SEC Say Yes to Disclosure

Make SEC Say Yes to Disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Brent J. Fields has been appointed as the agency’s Secretary, who is responsible for overseeing the administrative aspects of Commission meetings, rulemakings, and procedures. Let’s give Mr. Fields a warm welcome with a flood of e-mail supporting the petition to require companies to disclose political spending.  Continue Reading →

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