Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s new book, “Stress Test,” discusses the financial crisis of 2007-8 and Geithner’s supervision of the banking giant Citigroup.
Columnist Gael O’Brien examines an embarrassing customer misstep by financial software giant Intuit and suggests that corporate leaders should more closely question the “why” of major business decisions. “It is a powerful deterrent to mistakes,” she says, “and a key asset in keeping trust.”
As the Federal Reserve Bank of New York moved to beef up its oversight of Wall Street two years ago, the team charged with supervising the nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, was in turmoil. Fed examiners embedded at JPMorgan complained about being blocked from doing their jobs. In frustration, some requested transfers.
A special examiner hired – and fired – by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York recorded about 46 hours of meetings and conversations with her colleagues. Many of these events document key moments leading to her firing. But they also offer an intimate study of the New York Fed’s culture at a pivotal moment in its effort to become a more forceful financial supervisor.
“A shared sense of values can create a ‘we’ powerful enough to head off crises, transform organizations and propel strategic business decisions,“ writes columnist Gael O’Brien. She takes a look at three different organizations – a Fortune 500 company, a family-owned regional business and an online company – to see how values could affect challenges each will confront in 2015.
California made big news recently when it announced the first statewide ban on plastic shopping bags set to kick in during the middle of 2015. Of course, Americans are late to the party when it comes to banning plastic bags: The European Union, China, India and dozens of other nations already have plastic bag bans or taxes in place.
A senior professor of economics argues that the economics now being taught in university classrooms “makes it appear as though markets descended straight from heaven while maintaining a conspiracy of silence on the Achilles heals of free markets such as not paying sufficient attention to safety, not caring enough about the environment, and being indifferent to the welfare of future generations.”
When U.S. Senator John Walsh (pictured left) was accused of plagiarizing a masters thesis, he initially attributed the act partially to post traumatic stress disorder related to military service. He later recanted and quit the race for his seat in the Senate. The Army War College has since rescinded the masters degree. “The consequence of plagiarism,” writes columnist Gael O’Brien, “is like a time-released capsule imploding at a vulnerable moment in a career.”
“I work for the Gap and know firsthand the amount of waste that’s produced at my store. Can you suggest ways retail stores can reduce waste? And how can I get a conversation started with the people upstairs about recycling and being less wasteful?”
Pay packages for CEOs of U.S.-based companies continue out of control, writes columnist Gael O’Brien, with boards often succumbing to “fear-based” compensation practices that undermine the potential for collaborative leadership and sustainability. She notes new research which disputes conventional wisdom that CEOs can easily move to the next company if not paid well. “Tackling excessive CEO compensation,” O’Brien writes, “is the first step in creating a new normal.”
A recent New York Times investigation exposed ongoing labor and human rights abuses of foreign migrant workers who built New York University’s new campus in Abu Dhabi. The practices were contrary to a code of conduct NYU had pledged in 2009 would protect workers. The crisis hit several days before the first commencement at the campus last week in Abu Dhabi.
A survey of American Red Cross employees shows a crisis of trust in the charity’s leadership and deep internal doubts about the Red Cross’ commitment to ethical conduct. In response to the statement, “I trust the senior leadership of the American Red Cross,” just 39 percent responded favorably.
Olympic athletes “remind us that no one is too big to fail and rather than fear it, they train themselves to acknowledge mistakes, find out how to correct them, and try again,” writes columnist Gael O’Brien. “It is a lesson of resilience that makes everyone a winner. And it works in board rooms as well.”
A new initiative to develop standards for reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues by publicly-held U.S. companies has launched its first set of standards – for the health care sector – with ambitious plans to develop similar standards for more than 80 industries in 10 sectors over the next two years.
With the increasing activism of the public generally and institutional investors specifically it is more important than ever for the leaders of companies to take a proactive and honest effort to understand how public audiences view the operations and management of the organization.
In an exclusive interview with the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates discusses the challenges of philanthropy in an economic recession and how his tenure at Microsoft prepared him for his new job running the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
One of the most persistent corporate responsibility issues for many global brands is how to manufacture products in less developed countries while paying fair wages and maintaining acceptable working conditions. The New York Times reports on an experiment by a U.S. clothing company that is paying factory workers in the Dominican Republic a “living wage” – three times the average pay of the country’s apparel workers.
Leading power tool manufacturers have conspired for years to thwart adoption of a safety device that could prevent thousands of finger amputations and other disfiguring injuries in table saw accidents, according to a federal antitrust lawsuit filed by the developer of the safety technology.
Companies that invest in the management of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks are far better prepared to deal with business “shocks” and can demonstrate to investors a “resilience” that potentially translates into higher stock market valuations, according to a new report by the consulting firm Deloitte.
This coming April 22 will mark the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day, and the focus this year will be green cities. “As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever,” reports Earth Day Network.
A new television/video program, “Business In Society,” delivering news and analysis on how business is addressing global society’s macro problems — among them, the environment, energy conservation, and women’s empowerment — debuts Saturday, March 30th, 2013.