Corporate Governance Update
Articles By Hank Boerner:
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Council On Economic Priorities Names "Worst Polluters" For 1993 -- Companies Are 1994 Targets For Campaign For Cleaner Corporations |
Lead Paragraph:Since 1991, the Council on Economic Priorities'
(CEP) researchers have analyzed the environmental records of major corporations and
issued 30-to-80-page reports on major companies (more than 110 to date). Hundreds of companies
will be examined over the next few years, says the CEP. Ten large corporations with what
CEP terms "the most egregious environmental records" were targeted in 1991 and 1992 for
action by stakeholders - investors, employees, government officials, law firms, public
interest groups, environmental activists, regulators, financial analysts, and others who
regularly follow CEP research. The 1992 "Least Wanted" List was released in December.
This short list of major companies is selected by a panel of independent
judges after measurement against their industry and other similar companies. The firms
are now targets of The Campaign for Cleaner Corporations, an activist campaign waged by
more than 20 consumer, environmental and shareholder groups which have joined forces with CEP.
U.S. Banks Face New Standards For Fair Lending And Greater Corporate Accountability
(Winter 1994 special report on bank accountability)
Lead Paragraph:Washington, DC - The pressure is on in Washington to encourage
greater "accountability" on the part of American banks of all sizes - from small community banks
to the huge, money center institutions. New federal banking rules are proposed that will help
bring more "democracy" to bank lending practices. 1994 and 1995 promise to be years of
significant change for many U.S. bankers. The chosen instrument for immediate change is the
Community Reinvestment Act, which could be made more stringent by Congress
(if initial sponsors have their way) in 1994. At the same time officials of the big four
regulators - Federal Reserve, FDIC, Office of Thrift Supervision and the Office of Comptroller
of the Currency - are saying to Congress that enough law has already been enacted to deal
with bank lending practices and that new CRA regulations will better address the issue, not
Are Private Pension Funds In Peril? Nation's Pension System Faces Greater Scrutiny And Reform
(Winter 1994 special report on pension plan reform)
Lead Paragraph:Washington, DC -- Are some U.S. corporate and union
employee pension funds in deep trouble? The word in Washington is that the 103rd Congress,
the Clinton White House and the insurance agency set up to guarantee coverage for retirees
of failed pension plans are moving aggressively to enact dramatic reforms, to become new
law and regulations in 1994 or 1995. The effect on corporate America could be broad and
deep, depending on the final legislation adopted. The U.S. Pension Benefit Guarantee
Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency set up by Congress as part of ERISA to guarantee
the delivery of promised defined benefits [of private sector pension funds] to retired
workers, says it has at risk tens of billions of dollars (as the insurer of last resort
if privately-sponsored defined benefit plans fail).
Does Corporate Structure And Governance Practice Determine Whether America Can Compete Effectively With Japan And Germany?
(April 1994 a repory on emerging trends and issues)
Lead Paragraph:How much of a factor in global competition are
the means by which a nation's corporations are organized, structured and governed? Does the
relationship between government and the private sector determine the competitiveness of a
nation's industry? The General Accounting Office (the investigative arm of Congress)
devoted months to studying these questions - watch for discussions to broaden appreciably
in the coming months after recent publication of the GAO study. The GAO research was performed
at the request of U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings, Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science and
Transportation, and Senator Richard H. Bryan, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Consumer Committee.
The director of the study was GAO's Allan I. Mendelowitz, Director of International Trade,
Finance & Competitiveness. A number of agencies provided counsel.
The Debate Is Engaged: The Lines Between Public Policy Concerns And Corporate Matters Are Quickly Blurring
Lead Paragraph:Recent events inside the board rooms - and the
resulting dramatic headlines - have sent a wakeup call to senior executives and other boards
of directors throughout America's corporations. If your company has not yet been involved in
internal or external corporate governance issues, there is time to analyze the current public
debate and prepare for your involvement in the latest movement to sweep the corporate world.
This is not a short-term phenomenon. Sooner or later, virtually every publicly-owned
corporation in the United States will be involved in the broadening corporate governance
debate underway; corporate governance issues will affect the careers of countless
numbers of senior corporate officers.