Outlook: Labour should leave company law alone
Thursday 29 January 1998
It is bad enough trying to pin down what makes for good corporate governance and even harder attempting to devise standards of best practice for boardrooms to live up to. Thus, Sir Ronnie Hampel, chairman of the eponymous committee, got it in the neck from both sides yesterday, the corporate governance fascists who felt he had not gone nearly far enough and the vested interests of big business for whom even the nomination of a lead independent non- executive is a step too far down the slippery road to prescription. The language of the final report may be more muscular here and there, the odd word dropped in which, though not prescriptive, leaves directors and shareholders in no doubt where Hampel thinks their responsibilities lie. But it was never going to be a box-tickers' charter and so it has proved.
Whereas Cadbury was born out of a series of high-profile corporate failures and Greenbury out of the fat-cat excesses of the privatised utilities, Hampel never had quite the same reference point to give its deliberations some proper context. As a result, the idea got about that Sir Ronnie was all set to water down his predecessors' recommendations.
As it transpires, he has not done so. Neither, however, has he broken new ground other than in requiring an increased level of disclosure of the internal workings on the nation's boardrooms.
Until yesterday, it seemed that this approach also suited the Government, Labour having discovered that corporate profligacy was a good stick with which to beat the Tories while in opposition but not much use as a prop now that it is in office.
Margaret Beckett, the President of the Board of Trade, appears to have pulled a flanker, however. She is simultaneously supporting the voluntary, best-practice approach advocated by Sir Ronnie while launching a large review of company law which may well result in the DTI legislating all over Hampel's patch.
Mrs Beckett is welcome to tidy up some of the loose ends of company law. But if the urge comes on to legislate in the boardroom, she should take a leaf out of Sir Clive's book and lie down in the sun until the feeling goes away.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
First full-length look is finally here
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...