By Dimitris N. Chorafas (auth.)
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The way an old joke has it, if you wish to get a job to be done, assign it to a person. If not, set up a committee. A poor manager takes six weeks to make a decision that should only take a day or two. He thus slows down operations that people are itching to move on with, while competitors leave his company behind. Poor governance practices don’t allow getting above the fray, which is necessary to win. Time and again business life has proven that the concept of fighting a thousand small battles is deadly wrong.
M A one-time undisclosed gain, used to lower operating costs, had nothing to do with the company’s underlying operating performance. SENIOR MANAGERS ARE IN THE FRONTLINE M 39 This and similar accounting entries are distortions that have become commonplace, as companies try to hit a target even at the cost of abandoning fair play. Creative solutions to financial problems that are at the margin of legality and illegality are multiplying. An interesting case developed in January 2000 when AOL bought Time Warner in a deal worth $183 billion, which later resulted in a $54 billion write-off, the largest ever.
26 His remarks came days after France and Britain announced moves to crack down on bank bonuses, and after Jean-Claude Trichet, the then president of the European Central Bank, stepped up attacks on the expanding bonus culture. According to critics, the system of huge bonuses encouraged some of the most risky behavior that led to the deep recession. The pros answer that financial people who make the rich lists do not run banks; instead they are hedge fund managers and dealers in distressed assets who can plunge into a river of red ink and draw out of it assets with improbable sums attached.