Saturday, October 11, 2008

There Should Be More Executive Firings

In my opinion, there haven't been enough firings of executives. With the exception of Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, there doesn't seem to be many government or business executives being fired. In my company, people have been fired for much less than losing $20 billion in one year. Or in the case of the government, losing a couple trillion dollars.

Here are a few people that I wonder why they haven't been fired or asked to leave:

  1. Congress. I'd fire everyone in the Senate and House, effective immediately. In my opinion, they have only a few important roles - defense, interstate commerce, and our monetary system. If they don't get these right, nothing else matters. Saying the current credit crisis is a major screw up by our government would be an understatement.

    Worse yet, I have not heard anybody in Congress accept responsibilty or apologize to the American people. That's why I'm not voting for the incumbent Congressman, even though he is from my party. In fact, I'm not voting for any major party candidate and will likely vote independent.

    Since these are elected officials, we have no one but ourselves to blame if they are re-elected.

  2. Chris Cox, Chairman SEC. I believe elimination the uptick rule (i.e. stocks can only be shorted on an uptick) is one of the stupidest things that the SEC has done in recent years. The other is not enforcing the ban on naking shorting (i.e. shorting without borrowed shares.) While I am not an economist, I believe both absence of regulation in these areas accelerated the decline of stocks during the crash of 1929.

  3. Rick Wagoner, CEO General Motors. Last Friday, the market capitalization of GM dipped below its market capitalization in March, 1929, just before the stock market crash. GM is only worth about $4 billion nowadays. Mr. Wagoner achieved this 20 fold reduction of GM value in only 8 short years, since taking over in 2000.

    For reference, Toyota is has a market capitalization of $96 billion, even after losing half its value since February, 2007.

  4. Jeff Immelt, CEO General Electric. Invest and Deliver was the theme of the 2007 annual report. GE seems to have forgotten the deliver part in 2008. It seems GE needed financial businesses, which drove its growth under Jack Welch, to continue to meet the deliver part. GE's market value is now equal to what it was in 1997.

    I thought Mr. Immelt had a great strategy of focusing on green technology and infrastructure and made GE one of my core holdings. In hindsight, it seems Mr. Immelt should have put more focus on his strategy by divesting the financial businesses.

    If 2008 had be Mr. Immelt's first year, he would be the benefit of the doubt. However, he has been CEO for 7 years and should be held accountable.

There are probably some wonderinging why I didn't include President George W. Bush on the list. He would be, except that he already can't return for the next term. Besides, I think his legacy as the worst President to date will be more painful than being fired.

Disclosure: As of the time of publication, I own shares of General Electric in our personal and managed accounts.

For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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1 comment:

Father Sez said...

I cannot comment on everyone you have mentioned. But your legislators are no different from ours. I have never ever heard any one of them say sorry for any of the screw ups they do regularly. (Our Auditor General's yearly report is full of their shenanigans.)

Maybe the French were on to something those days. He he