Last week began with CEOs of Canadian banks having their compensation “slashed“: “Those rare moves are coming at a time when some shareholders are pushing for a say on executive compensation, while taxpayers ratchet up their scrutiny after Ottawa committed billions more to shore up lending in last week’s federal budget.” South of the border, President Obama’s bailout package caps executive pay at $500,000, though critics are already pointing out loopholes. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Gordon Brown moves to “[sweep] away the old short-term bonus culture of the past and [replace] it with a determination that there are no rewards for failure and rewards only for long-term success.” And Nortel Networks are to give up their corporate jets.
Here for Corporate Governance predictions for 2009. “Queen of Good Corporate Governance” Nell Minnow sees Obama’s curbs on executive comp as her second choice: “I would have preferred to have the corporate community demonstrate some sense of responsibility, leadership and self-preservation by taking steps themselves to establish a compensation system that communicated a commitment to investors and taxpayers. ” Repurcussions of India’s Satyam corporate governance scandal continue here with thoughts about controls on internal auditors. More on “Wall Street pay in the age of Obama”. From The Huffington Post on the role of boards in the current financial crisis: “But little has been spoken about the boards of the great American financial institutions that have brought the world economy to its knees. Sure, Robert Rubin has been silenced for his complicity as a member of the board of directors of Citigroup. But little has been said about the more fundamental issues, conflicts and failure of corporate governance that have occurred on our long march toward the abyss.”