Archive for October 2nd, 2009

Most Companies Actively Recruiting as Economy Improves

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Published in World at Work October 2, 2009 

 More than 90% of surveyed companies are actively recruiting personnel as the unemployment rate begins to level off and the economy begins to show signs of improvement.
The results of the BenchmarkPro survey show that although the total turnover rate across all industries was 16.3% in 2009, companies are still on the lookout for new talent. The results show turnover rates were lowest in the Midwest at 15.7%, which was followed by organizations in the Northeast at 15.8%. The South Central region had the highest turnover rates at 17.6%.

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Don’t be Fooled

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

expert perspective telescopeRick Newman’s September 23rd article “Outlandish CEO Pay: How to Fix the Problem” published in Seeking Alpha summarizes, simplistically, the problem of excess CEO pay and the possible solutions to this problem, recounting the problems faced by Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and AIG following poor leadership by Stan O’Neal, Charles Prince and Martin Sullivan, respectively.  Newman’s point being these Wall Street icons made millions (and millions) while the companies they led lost billions.

Although overly simplified, we don’t disagree with most of what Newman says –  in particular, linking pay to long term performance and establishing claw backs as standard protocols in executive contracts. Grahall’s approach to structuring executive compensation packages is to link pay to events. In many companies there is a mismatch between these elements. 
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Vision, Mission and Values: More than Just Words on a Plaque

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

expert perspective telescopeWe have been perusing the letters submitted to the SEC relating to the proxy disclosure requirements  and came across one from the Ethisphere Institute .  According to the authors, Alexander F. Brigham, Stefan Linssen and Stephen Martin, the Ethisphere Institute is “a leading research and measurement institution in the field of examining correlations between business ethics and corporate performance.”   Their letter makes some compelling arguments for “steps to enhance disclosure around ethics, compliance and integrity [that] will be of service to the investing public and reflect an increasing trend and interest in the business community….” And they note that “…emphasizing ethics in business is a fundamental good practice and benefits companies and the investing public alike.”

Our Grahall Editorial Board recently discussed the Ethisphere letter and the concept of ethics and ethical behavior in terms of compensation decisions. 
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You Look Maaarvelous… But your future may not

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

expert perspective telescopeWe read with raised eyebrows the September 24, 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Marvel CEO Got Options Ahead of Deal” where authors Ethan Smith and Joann S. Lublin state that “Marvel Entertainment Inc. Chief Executive Isaac ‘Ike’ Perlmutter was granted in excess of 1 million stock options in the weeks after an  employee of Marvel commenced discussions with Walt Disney Co. that ultimately led to the consummation of a merger agreement, according to a filing Disney submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.” 

What in the world was Marvel’s Board thinking?  Have they been reading the popular press?  Don’t they know that actions like this will attract “lightning rod like” criticism, even outside the banking business? 
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Businesses Quick to Fire, Slower to Hire

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Published in The Wall Street Journal October 2, 2009 by Mark Gongloff

The labor market is expected to look marginally less terrible when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases September employment data Friday. Economists think nonfarm payrolls shed 175,000 jobs last month, the lowest count since August 2008, though — with this week’s economic data — some worry the numbers could be worse. The economists think unemployment ticked up to 9.8% from 9.7%, the highest since 1983.

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Insurance Executive Pay Curbed in Health Bill

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Published in The Wall Streeet Journal October 2, 2009 by Greg Hitt and Janet Adamy

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday to encourage limits on the compensation of insurance executives, responding to charges that expanding health insurance coverage would enrich insurance companies.

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