Saturday, July 22, 2006
Desire To "Look Good" A Potential Achilles Heel For CEOs
Professor Zingales at the University of Chicago School of Business suggests that "the media seems to exert pressure on corporate managers and regulators, forcing companies to behave more in the interest of shareholders." He cited the case of NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso, who was ousted from his post by the directors when his excessive pay was reported in the press. CEOs apparently understand that their key asset is their reputation, and that adverse publicity can damage their future employability.
The author of the article at the link below has some misgivings about the findings of Zingales' study. They will no doubt be exploited by corporate public relations departments to better manipulate the press. And, even though the study suggests that the power of the press may indeed be exerted to improve the behavior of corporations and their CEOs, the press may no longer be up to the task. "Too often the media plays patsy and is meek in the face of challenge," he asserts. "Media lagged inquiry on just about every corporate scandal in recent memory."
Nonetheless, just think how wonderful it would be if those whose business it is to speak out about what goes on in our society had a little more courage, integrity and common sense. Maybe if simply more of us spoke out, regardless whether or not we are anointed Members of the Press, the same results would ensue. If we cannot prevent corporate theft and other abuses from taking place altogether, at least we might be able to keep them from happening more often through the instrument of public shame.
"Read All About It: Media Coverage May Be What Holds Companies To Account" from MarketWatch