Letters to the Editor
Clamp on boardroom pay
May I suggest that Stephen Byers make company directors more accountable by adopting the proposals currently being considered by the Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Securities. One proposal is the annual election of all directors by proportional voting combined with the establishment of a Corporate Governance Board (elected on a democratic basis of one vote per investor instead of the current plutocratic basis of one vote per share.
Proportional voting allows minority interests, including women, to get elected even if there is a parent company or `control group' such as Rupert Murdoch. Minority interests can then advise the CGB to veto any action in which one or more directors have a conflict of interest such as director pay, director nominations, related party transactions, share plans, accounting practices, control of the auditor and general meetings of shareholders. The only powers the CGB has beside managing conflicts of interests is to report directly to the shareholders. Their veto power can be over-ruled by a meeting of shareholders.
A CGB avoids the cost of expensive and often ineffective audit, remuneration and nomination sub-committees which may require the size of a board to be increased. Directors duties, liabilities and exposure to criticism of being self serving is also reduced to allow them to concentrate on value adding performance activities rather than conformance duties. By introducing credible elements of self-governance, CGBs provide a way to simplify both the corporations law and listing rules.
Shareholders also have a right to expect that directors have processes in place to obtain information independent of management on the performance of the company.
It is very much in the shareholders interest that stakeholder councils made up of employees, lead customers, and supplies be established for this purpose. Shareholders should demand the government change the law accordingly to enrich participation and competitiveness in an inclusive stakeholder economy.
Yours faithfully Shann Turnbull email:
Career Management Questionnaire
I would like to thank all of the members who took the time to complete the questionnaire in the August edition of the journal. The lucky respondent for the draw was Mr WJ B Smith of Woolley whose completed reply was selected from those received by 1 October 1998.
I would also like to thank all of the members who completed the questionnaire sent to them recently. The lucky respondent for the draw was Mr A G Munro of Argyll whose completed reply was selected at random from those received by 5 March 1999.
Yours faithfully Tony Wilson
International 'laws' are like jungle laws. Some of them are humanely defined in treaties, but these are not obeyed by governments or their agents.
No authority or aggrieved party can force a lawbreaker to the UN's International Court of Justice at The Hague. …