Ex-ABC Learning directors may face $1bn damages claim

Ferrier Hodgson, the administrators of ABC Learning (a former constituent of the S&P/ASX 100), are reportedly investigating a A$1bn damages claim against the former directors and the auditors. The administrators are being funded by IMF Australia (a listed company which provides funding of legal claims and other related services where the claim size is over A$2m).… Read the rest

Former Vivendi execs face share price manipulation charges

A French judge has order seven executives at Vivendi to stand trial over alleged financial wrong doing. The executives include Jean-Marie Messier, Edgar Bronfman Jr and Guillaume Hannezo (former Chief Financial Officer). Reuters has reported that the charges include divulging misleading information, stock price manipulation and misuse of corporate funds.… Read the rest

ASIC seeks disqualification of Centro directors

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission this week announced it intended bringing civil charges against the enitre 2007 board and a former Chief Financial Officer of various entities withing the Centro Properties Group and Centro Retail Group.

This is the first case brought where the requirement that a listed entity’s CEO and CFO declare in writing to the company directors that the financial reports comply with the accounting standards will be an issue before the Court.… Read the rest

Investor groups wade into fight over trade association positions on climate change

In the wake of several prominent companies – including Apple Inc. Exelon Corp., Duke Energy, PG&E and PNM Resources – dropping their memberships in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the National Association of Manufacturers over differences with these trade associations’ positions on climate change legislation, a group of 43 social investment organizations and funds has waded into the controversy by sending a letter to 14 additional companies calling on them to take actions as well.… Read the rest

Australian shareholders rebel over pay

The first big week of Australian proxy season has seen a number of revolts on executive pay, with one ASX 100 company losing the remuneration report vote and two others seeing very significant dissent.

At Downer Edi, the remuneration report was defeated, with investors reacting to reduced performance hurdles for the long-term incentive plan and large payments under the annual bonus.… Read the rest

Pay czar Feinberg slashes bailout bonus

US pay czar Kenneth Feinberg has waded into the bankers’ bonus debate with a range of sweeping cuts and demands for corporate governance reforms.

On the pay front the proposals are to cut the packages of the top 25 executives at the seven bailed out  firms: Bank of America, Citigroup, AIG, General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler Group and Chrysler Finance.… Read the rest

Press Update: The Times October 20th 2009

Linking bonuses to the granting of shares or options seems a good idea . . .
… but it is not as simple as that and Britain’s businesses can see the pitfalls that many others cannot.

Jamie Stevenson of University of Exeter Business School writes in the Times and discusses the problems of executive incentives.… Read the rest

The unintended consequences of “Best Practice”

The Walker Review has ignited something of a bonfire under the UK’s current “Guidelines” based approach to corporate governance monitoring and enforcement. Leaving the politics of the debate aside for a moment, there is a genuine practical consideration for adopting a more formal approach to “Best Practice Guidelines” – ongoing suitability.… Read the rest

UAE to replace guidelines with laws

The UAE is paving the way for a tougher regulatory regime according to Emirates regulatory affiars officer Maryam al Suwaidi. Speaking at the First Abu Dhabi Corporate Governance Conference on Wednesday, al Suwaidi said that the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA) has been involved in drafting the law, which would be in line with international best international practice.… Read the rest

PROXYGovernance Chairman joins 100 “Most Influential” in the Boardroom

James Melican, chairman of Manifest’s US partner, PROXYGovernance has joined Directorship magazine’s 100 most influential people in US boardrooms. ‘Directorship’ is a leading US website and business magazine for board directors and corporate governance professionals. Its annual D100 list of the “most influential” persons in the boardroom was released on Oct.… Read the rest