Dirty Rotten CEOs
A newly revised and updated edition argues that many corporate executives have destroyed the value of their companies, cheated stockholders, employees, and the public, and compromised the integrity of financial markets and accountants while enriching themselves
It’s far more dammning than that. It’s an angry, detailed condemnation of America’s business leadership and its spineless confederates in our legislatures and in the accounting, banking, legal, and journalistic professions–written by a veteran business journalist who has worked for Business Week, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal.
The book targets America’s small investors, which includes anyone with a 401K plan; i.e. most of the US population. And he doesn’t spare the investment community for failing to start asking questions until their nest eggs vanished.
But his main focus is the bad guys. He shows how they did it to us; how they [destroyed] the very people we depended on to keep them honest; how they silenced the few regulators, accountants, analysts and fellow executives who opposed their schemes; how they ran up their incomes from 40x that of hourly workers in 1980 to over 535x today.
He proves conclusively that the problem was not–as President Bush claimed–a few bad eggs. Rather, it is so widespread it requires far-reaching, systemic reform.
You should read this book even if you don’t agree with his proposals for reform, but those proposals are truly interesting and provocative. Above all he calls for transparency. For example, all these CEOs were dumping their own stock just as they were exhorting employees and other investors to buy, buy, buy. If they’d had to reveal this fact, investors would have gotten a big red flag. However, he adds that CEOs should be prohibited from dumping more than a quarter of their company stock while they’re employed by that company.