Of the world's 200 largest economies, more than half are corporations. They have more influence on our lives than any other institution, but while boards of directors are supposed to police CEOs and provide independent leadership, they have become enabling lapdogs rather than trustworthy watchdogs.
As America contends with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, all eyes are turning to the corporate leaders who have perpetrated such egregious failures, padding their own pockets with grossly inflated pay packages even as their businesses fall to ruin, asking, How could things have gone so terribly wrong? How could the stewards of American business---who are supposed to be the gold standard of the global economy---turn out to be so incompetent? Taking readers right into the boardrooms and behind the scenes of the lavish C-Suites, John Gillespie and David Zweig have interviewed a host of upper-echelon managers and board members at leading companies, from Exxon and Citigroup and Home Depot to Countrywide, to shine a glaring light on the clubby culture of the business elite.
The book reveals just how the machinations of good governance have broken down, replaced by a compromised system plagued by greed and see-no-evil culpability, and also reports on a handful of pioneering companies who are bold leaders in corporate reform, offering powerful proof that the system most certainly can be fixed.
©2010 John Gillespie and David Zweig (P)2010 Tantor
“Both thoughtful and lively, this is a fascinating discussion of a little-seen force in corporate America.” (Publishers Weekly)
my retention is always better in print, but overall this was a good non-fiction book for audio presentation
The overall presentation of the material was excellent although there were a few occasions where the authors went off on a tangent -- e.g., some non-board related financial/housing crisis details. When the book stuck to its thesis about just how worthless and dangerous so many of today's board members are, the book was great. Too many times you find yourself shaking your head in disgust by the lack of director independence. Most of the author's conclusions are probably consistent with those of someone who would buy this book. I ordered this book because I believe so many corporate failures and so much corporate mediocrity could be averted by a truly strong independent board. What was most frustrating for me was that you're left believing nothing will actually change. The system is broken (rigged) and, sadly, there is no incentive for anyone with true power to change it. Therefore, poor to mediocre CEO performance will continue earning outsized pay packages. CEOs will continue to use shareholder money to take giant risks that if successful will pay even more outsized returns while failure will be showered with golden parachutes that any executive would be overjoyed to earn in a two year window. Shareholders matter very little in this world. The boards are more concerned with covering their ass than protecting the shareholders they allegedly represent. When failure/crisis/scandal arises board members spend their time and energy covering their tracks instead of fixing systemic problems.
The movie America's power elite don't want you to see...
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