Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hall of shame - new entries

Pfizer failed to listen to shareholders again. Fund managers failed to act on behalf of shareholders, yet again. $65 million a year for an executive who has only created pain for investors ? And on top of that some $80 million in pension ?
All along, the company, like other majors, has been turning into an army of drug-peddlers, pushing drugs for invented conditions and advertising drugs like cars.

I wish that atleast $135 million of the $145 million, was spent in sub-Saharan countries where thousands die every day because drug companies refuse to help with a cheaper version of an AIDS drug. Or that the money was spent in curing real diseases, like TB, that kill millions, instead of spending on drugs for lifestyle diseases. But then again, the latter pays I guess, even when the long-term what they neeeffects are unknown, and even when only incremental enhancements are made available to keep the cash register ringing longer and longer.

Have these executives no shame left ? Are they even human anymore ? They seem to have turned into green-cellulose digesting monsters. How many yachts does one really need ? The executives with their greed and callous disregard for shareholders' sentiment, the directors with their wilful negligence and complicity, and the fund managers, with their apathy, put even the most barbaric of corrupt third-world bureaucrats and tinpot dictators to shame. At least the bribes seem to be indexed to local quality of life, inflation and purchasing power!

SEC Chairman Cox says that requiring fund executive pay disclosure is worth considering. Heck, it is and it has been for years. With an estimated 78% not performing better than the market, why do we need so many fund managers ? To keep editors at Barron's busy ? To keep golf courses full ? Fund executives' pay and funds' votes have to be disclosed - there is just no other way. As it is, they are skimming millions from people who see their retirement money eroding away. What took Cox so long to wake up ? When will this become a reality ?

There were more reports of options-related actions that indicate backdating of grants. Is it any wonder that the practice is so widespread! Shouldn't there be a three-strikes clause to take these dangerous people, along with the directors who approved the actions, out of boardrooms for good ? It is time for a war on thugs, just like the war on drugs, but this time the guys who steal millions need to be locked up and disenfranchised. Then again, did they ever vote or do they just buy favorable legislation ?

Finally a page of useful material on executive compensation, or more specifically, how even after earnings restatements, it is impossible to take back the earnings-tied bonuses/grants of the past, from executives. The restatements are obvious signs that earlier targets were not met and were mostly accounting trickery. Shouldn't it also be obvious that payments resulting from those lies should be returned ? Try telling that to a greedy executive! We need more regular pieces like this one.

Frankly, I believe that any executive who takes in more than 10 to 15 times the compensation of an average employee has no feelings for fellow humans anymore. I truly believe that Josef Mengele would have had more human qualities in him than these executives. As recent disclosures show, many have given themselves retirement packages that will pay them more in, get this, one day than an average American gets in a year! We need a catharsis, in the form of hundreds or thousands of these offenders being given life sentences or worse.


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