Hampel says goodbye with blistering attack
Friday 23 April 1999
After highlighting developments in restructuring the paints and chemicals group, Sir Ronald said he thought it appropriate on leaving office to mention "some wider aspects of business life which trouble me".
He complained that the interaction between companies, shareholders, analysts and the media produced "some intolerable results for which I have no immediate solution".
Among chairmen and chief executives, "today's heroes are tomorrow's villains," he said. "Institutional shareholders are under competitive pressure to perform and they too are instant heroes and villains. The analyst community - at least those who work for the broking industry - earn no return for their employers by recommending a hold; it must be a buy or sell.
"Finally, the media, which is also highly competitive and values scoops and sensations above all else, operates to deadlines we in business frequently forget, and indeed would not tolerate.
"Comments of the media, fed by the analyst community, sometimes anonymously, with no regulatory requirement for accuracy or consistency, can create real problems for management. Management must of course be accountable, but it requires real courage to maintain a long-term strategy under this sort of media pressure."
Sir Ronald, the architect of the Combined Code on corporate governance adopted by the Stock Exchange, also attacked shareholders for their approach to executive pay. "I was delighted when [the Hampel report on corporate governance] received widespread support ... But I am saddened that some shareholders and so many in the academic and consulting world, and indeed the media, persist in pursuing dogma and ticking boxes without testing the facts of a particular situation."
He attacked the unnamed shareholders for criticising two ICI directors, Rob Margetts and Alan Spall, for retaining two-year contracts. The shareholders had pointed to his own report, which says all directors should move towards one-year contracts.
Upbeat results, page 21
- 2 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'
Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
'Gene drive': Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms which could spread in the wild and cause environmental disasters
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Contracts Executive - Cit...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...