News

  • Activist investor Engaged Capital LLC nominated five candidates to Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s board, in a display of continued frustration with the struggling teen retailer’s management.

    The public nomination comes after weeks of “private outreach” to Abercrombie failed, Engaged said. The firm said it “believes this is yet another example of the incumbent directors’ unwillingness to put the interests of the company and stockholders ahead of their own pecuniary interests.”

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  • Dropbox, which provides online storage, is clearly looking for creative people who can think outside the box and wants to make interviews more fun. It is not alone; many Silicon Valley companies ask such questions. The problem is that such questions are fun only for people who understand the jokes — and who can think like the young men doing the interviews.

    They don’t lead to better hiring outcomes, as Google learned. Its senior vice president for people operations, Laszlo Bock, said last June in an interview with New York Times, “…we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

    Such hiring practices also disadvantage women. They hurt the employer by limiting the talent pool. They fortify the male-dominated, frat-boy culture that Silicon Valley is increasingly being criticized for.

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  • 02/11/2014

    A Bold Corporate Proposal: More Talk, Less Action

    Directors Institute

    The communication channels between institutional investors and boards are informal and unstructured. Sometimes they’re hardly even open to begin with—a factor keenly exploited by activist investors, who pounce on companies that are deaf or unresponsive to investor concerns. The Shareholder-Director Exchange was launched to try and build that methodology, announcing a proposed protocol that would guide how boards and investors talk to each other.

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  • 02/10/2014

    Icahn Ends Apple Stock Buyback Campaign

    Directors Institute

    Activist investor Carl Icahn said he would drop his effort to force Apple Inc. to increase its stock buyback plans, citing the tech firm’s recent stock repurchases as well as a call against Mr. Icahn’s plans from an influential proxy adviser.

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  • 02/06/2014

    GM’s Solso Pledges to be Activist Chairman

    Directors Institute

    Theodore “Tim” Solso is the new nonexecutive chairman of General Motors Co. But sitting quietly in the boardroom is the last thing the 66-year-old former Cummins Inc. chief plans to do.

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  • It had been five months since Steve Ballmer announced he was stepping down as Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive, and more than a year since the board had directed faster change at the once dominant technology giant. Directors had identified more than 100 possible CEO contenders. Finally, on a cold January day in New York, directors settled on 22-year Microsoft veteran Satya Nadella to be the company’s third chief executive. Effective immediately, Mr. Gates, would step down as chairman but spend up to a third of his time enmeshed at the company, coaching Mr. Nadella or hashing out product ideas with employees. Longtime technology executive John W. Thompson, a board member who led the CEO search, would step up to the chairman post. And Mr. Ballmer, after 14 years as CEO, would pack up his office, though retain a board seat.

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  • Investors and boards all over corporate America are tired of getting kicked around by activist hedge fund managers who buy up shares in their companies and starting shaking things up. An alliance of board members from companies like Hertz and Coca-Cola, big investors like BlackRock and Vanguard, and corporate advisers have formed what they’re calling the Shareholder-Director Exchange (SDX). The aim of the group is to give companies the tools they need to take on activist fund managers and win. If all works as planned, the SDX will have created the model for how it’s done.

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  • Philadelphia, PA The Directors’ Institute, a non-profit membership organization focused on building next generation board leadership for American companies, today announced a new suite of products and services focused on helping today’s senior executives prepare and position themselves for board service on public, private, and non-profit boards for American companies. Data gathered by The Directors’ [...]

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  • Bowing to investor criticism, McKesson Corp. MCK -1.63% rearranged its board’s power by expanding its lead independent director’s role and making it easier to recover part of top officers’ pay under a variety of circumstances. The medical-products distributor disclosed the corporate-governance changes Tuesday and said more would come. The actions come after an outcry last [...]

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  • 01/31/2014

    Abercrombie Strips CEO of Chairman Title

    Directors Institute

    Abercrombie & Fitch Co. stripped Chief Executive Michael Jeffries of his title of chairman and named three new members to its board, steps aimed at improving governance at a teen retailer under pressure from weak sales and an activist investor. The company also said it would terminate its shareholder rights plan, corporate speak for what [...]

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