mardi, décembre 09, 2008

Comment accroître l'imputabilité des chefs de la direction: GM, un exemple à ne pas suivre

Le Professeur Jonathan Macey signe une opinion intituléé Holding CEOs Accountable dans le Wall Street Journal d'aujourd'hui. S'inspirant de son nouveau livre (que je viens de recevoir), "Corporate Governance: Promises Made, Promises Broken", le texte critique la passivité des administrateurs de GM qui se rangent docilement derrière le chef de la direction, malgré les déboires que connaît l'entreprise. Macey identifie les causes de cette passivité:

Like parents unable to view their children objectively, boards reject statistical reality and almost always view their firms as above average. Because directors participate in corporate decision-making, they inevitably take ownership of the strategies that the corporation pursues. In doing so, directors become incapable of evaluating management and strategies in a detached manner.

As board tenure lengthens, it becomes increasingly less likely that boards will remain independent of the managers they are charged with monitoring. The capture problem is exacerbated by the incentives of managers to develop close personal ties with directors. Mr. Wagoner has had 10 years to cultivate his board. Of the 13 "independent" directors on the board, eight of them have served with Mr. Wagoner since 2003.

Once an opinion, such as the opinion that a CEO is doing a good job, becomes ingrained in the minds of a board of directors, the possibility of altering those beliefs decreases substantially. All too often, it is only when an outsider takes an objective look does anybody realize the obvious: That the directors of a company are generally the last people to recognize management failure.

La solution? Selon Macey, encourager l'activisme des investisseurs, incluant des hedge funds.

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