Topic: Operations

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Walking away as winners…
August 17, 2004—For a money-losing company whose stock was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange last year and is now trading in the pinks, B-to-B publisher Penton Media (PTON.OB) is sure acting like it has money to spare. Last month, it announced that it had reached separation agreements with two of its top executives, CEO Thomas […]

Another rewarding screw-up…
August 9, 2004—In the 10-K that Con-Agra (CAG) filed last week, the company noted that it had put aside $25 million in connection with a three-year old SEC investigation into accounting practices at a former subsidiary, United Agri Products (UAP). In 2001, Con-Agra restated financial results dating back to 1997 because of the way it booked income […]

A rewarding screw-up…
August 6, 2004—Top executives who screw up, say by having their testimony before a US District Judge ruled internally inconsistent potentially costing the company big bucks may be shown the door. But they still wind up with a big fat consulting contract. That’s exactly what happened at Ford Motors (F) which announced back in April that David […]

Easing into retirement…
August 3, 2004—On July 19, Occidental Petroleum (OXY) announced that President Dale Laurance planned to resign at the end of the year for health-related reasons. But the press release never mentioned that Laurance would remain with Occidental as a well-paid consultant following his retirement. That was buried in a consulting contract at the end of Occidental’s recent […]

Parting in such sweet sorrow…
July 30, 2004—Another top executive at Janus (JNS) has stepped down from the once hot fund company that got caught up in last year’s big mutual fund scandal. And like former CEO Mark Whiston, Lars Soderberg, 44, is also walking away with some nice — though not as nice — parting gifts. According to Soderberg’s severance agreement […]

Another day, another brother…
July 28, 2004—With a new round of proxies coming out, it seems like this is the season for public companies to out their deals with relatives of the company’s executives and directors. Wholesome restaurant chain Bob Evans (BOBE) is just the latest one. In the proxy it filed yesterday, Bob Evans disclosed that a company owned by […]

Hey bro…
July 27, 2004—When your brother runs a large successful company, it might seem fine to hit him up for some cash. But when that company is publicly traded, as PC Mall (MALL) is, shareholders deserve to be told when their money is being used to help out family members. According to the company’s recent proxy, a company […]

Treated like royalty…
July 23, 2004—Why did Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) take nearly two years to disclose to investors that it had entered into a “first look agreement” with a company run by its Vice Chairman, Mark Amin? In the company’s recent proxy, Lions Gate disclosed the agreement for the first time and said it had paid Amin’s company, Sobini […]

Impressive parting gifts…
July 22, 2004—When Jeffrey Hawn left Houston-based BMC Software (BMC) earlier this year, he received some impressive parting gifts, according to the company’s recent proxy. particularly given the fact that as vice president for operations, he wasn’t even top man on the totem pole. Hawn, who joined the company in 2000, received a severance payment of $1.9 […]

Congressional meddling…
July 21, 2004—It’s hard to believe that only days after Ken Lay was indicted and former Adelphia founder John Rigas was convicted, that the House of Representatives would pass legislation that makes it easier for companies to hide the true cost of stock options. Everyone from Alan Greenspan to Warren Buffett has urged Congress to stay away […]