The Morning Ledger: Investors Grow Bold, Except In Thailand

Moss is the third high-profile U.K. CEO to get booted because of investor anger, following the departures of Sly Bailey from

Trinity Mirror and David Brennan from

AstraZeneca, the FT notes. Barclays also took a lot of flak for the fat payouts made to CEO Bob Diamond and CFO Chris Lucas, CFO Magazine points out.

Over at Reuters, Felix Salmon says what’s going on in the U.K. is a harbinger of what will happen, eventually, in the U.S. Vikram Pandit may be hanging on at

Citigroup, but as we see more pay package rejections in this country, Salmon thinks more executives will start to get the message. "After all, few shareholders vote no on pay with the thought process ‘I think you would be a great CEO, just as long as you earn a little bit less money.’ These votes are a clear rejection of cronyism at the board level, and it behooves boards to start listening.”

But as long as shareholders want to stay free to sell the stocks they own, they'll never engage deeply enough to change the way companies are run, argues the Telegraph’s Jeremy Warner. " To have real traction, shareholders must ... sit on the committees responsible for appointing the chief executive, the finance director and the chairman, and they must make themselves insiders by taking part in the big decisions. But they won’t, because they want to be free to sell the stock. The problem of the absentee landlord doesn’t look like going away soon.”




The Senate Banking Committee debates how much support the federal government should provide for the financial system and potentially "too big to fail" institutions. The star witness is former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, so there should be plenty of questions about his namesake rule. And a Financial Services subcommittee will be debating whether new regulations pose hefty burdens on small financial institutions, the Hill notes.

Wholesale inventories are expected to post a 0.6% rise for March after climbing 0.9% in February. And for earnings, we hear from



Macy’s and CFO Journal parent

News Corp.

Markets flash: Growing worries over Greece weighed on Asian markets, but some upbeat earnings are keeping losses in check in Europe. DJIA futures are down 0.5%.


Depth of antitrust review surprised Blackbaud CFO. Blackbaud executives were surprised by how much detail the Justice Department wanted in its antitrust review of the Convio acquisition. “It took a little longer than we anticipated,” Blackbaud CFO Anthony Boor told Vipal Monga. Boor said the review was particularly granular because department officials weren’t very familiar with the intricacies of businesses that serve nonprofit organizations.

Ralcorp to restate over deferred taxes. Ralcorp said that material weaknesses in its internal controls caused it to botch accounting for the deferred tax liabilities of a subsidiary it spun off in February, Maxwell Murphy reports. That will force the company to restate prior results and file its quarterly report late. But Ralcorp isn’t alone. Last week CFOJ reported that interstate gas-pipeline asset-holder

Williams failed to properly account for deferred tax liabilities from its investment in a limited partnership due to material weakness in internal controls.

IASB tries to clarify rule-setting process. The trustees that oversee the IASB have proposed due-process enhancements meant to clarify the steps the IASB goes through in setting accounting rules, Emily Chasan reports. The proposed revisions provide more information about how the board assesses the likely effects of a new standard, propose a methodology for conducting post-implementation reviews, and include more details about how the board conducts outreach activities in the standard-setting process.


Wanted: CFOs with global experience. Time spent overseas develops executives’ ability to manage complex, interconnected operations—skills that just can't be developed back at headquarters or in one brief foreign assignment, writes the Journal’s Leslie Kwoh. When

Xerox was looking for a new CFO it asked recruiters to find candidates with "broad global industry experience." The CFO search team returned Luca Maestri, an Italian-born executive who has lived in more than a half-dozen locations—including Thailand, Brazil and Ireland—on assignment for

General Motors.

Corporate default rate inches up. The global default rate crept up a bit to 2.6% in April from 2.5% in March, according to Moody’s. But there’s no evidence of a surge on the horizon. The firm is sticking with its forecast of a moderate default rate over the next year. Read the full report here (PDF).

United CFO sees value in uniform fleet. Boeing is on the verge of a big coup against

Airbus, snagging a big order from

United Continental, Reuters says. United CFO John Rainey wouldn’t confirm the order, but he did say that there would be benefits from a fleet of planes from one maker. "It helps from a maintenance perspective. It helps from a scheduling perspective."



founder loses chairmanship. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters demoted founder Chairman Robert Stiller and lead director William Davis after the company's share-price plunge forced the men into emergency stock sales resulting from margin calls, the WSJ reports. Green Mountain said the two men's stock sales were "inconsistent with the company's internal trading policies."

Jets and loans add to


’s woes. Chesapeake Energy is getting sued over its use of corporate jets. The suit claims Chesapeake's top executives' extensive use of fractional-jet time circumvented public reporting rules, the WSJ reports. Meanwhile, Reuters has unearthed a $450 million loan arranged by CEO Aubrey McClendon just before he lost his chairmanship. “That loan, previously undisclosed, was made by investment-management firm EIG Global Energy Partners, which was at the same time helping arrange a major $1.25 billion round of financing for Chesapeake itself.”


taps bond market. IBM sold $1.5 billion of debt in its second U.S. dollar-denominated offering this year, as corporate bond yields reach record lows, Bloomberg reports. The company will use the proceeds for debt repayments, preferred stock redemptions and possible acquisitions or expansion.




Compliance efforts count in FCPA enforcement. The Washington Post looks at how lobbying efforts to make changes to the FCPA have hit a wall thanks to the

Wal-Mart bribery case. Ledger readers can skip over most of the background, but the story does point to some “slivers of common ground.” Specifically, the SEC and DOJ investigation of Morgan Stanley in China where they didn’t charge the company itself -- just one official. “Morgan Stanley was conspicuously not charged, and their decision was a bold endorsement of the company’s compliance effort,” said David Smyth, a former SEC enforcement official now representing corporate clients for a firm in North Carolina.

CEOs: Don’t raise taxes on dividends. Verizon’s Lowell McAdam and

UPS’s D. Scott Davis join a long list of CEOs calling on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner not to raise taxes on dividends in this Politico op-ed. “Equity capital is the lifeblood of investment and job creation for U.S. companies. We believe the administration’s proposal will limit corporations’ ability to raise new capital and will undermine economic growth.”


European debt crisis: what you need to know. The leader of the left-wing party that came in second in Greece’s elections last weekend outlined a five-point plan calling for scrapping the “barbarous” austerity program demanded by the EU. And ECB board member Jörg Asmussen raised the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro – an option the ECB had previously refused to acknowledge in public, the FT reports.


  • Molson Coors said Stewart Glendinning, its chief financial officer since July 2008, will become the CEO of the brewer’s U.K. and Ireland business. The company promoted Gavin Hattersley, formerly CFO of its MillerCoors U.S. joint venture, to succeed him. Glendinning received compensation valued at $2.2 million last year, which included a salary of $553,419 and $1.1 million in stock and option awards.

  • Furniture Brands International said Vance Johnston, its senior vice president of growth and transformation, will become CFO on May 18 following the resignation of Steven Rolls, who held the position for the past four years. Before joining Furniture Brands in March 2010, Johnston was CFO of Miami Jewish Health Systems. Rolls’s total compensation last year was valued at $915,474, including a $475,000 salary and about $276,000 in stock and option awards.

  • Serena Software named Joseph Passarello as its CFO. He succeeds John Alves, who was named interim CFO in July when Robert Pender retired. Alves received compensation valued at $292,718 for the fiscal year ended in January, while Pender received compensation valued at $496,815.

  • Ziopharm Oncology appointed Jason Amello as CFO. Amello held various roles at Sanofi’s Genzyme over the past 11 years, most recently as controller and chief accounting officer. He assumes the post from Richard Bagley, who remains with the company as president and chief operating officer, according to a spokesman. Bagley received compensation valued at $648,175 last year.

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