corporate culture

Safeway Skewered for Throwing 6,000 Workers Under the Bus in Video Parody

Safeway closed a whopping 72 Dominick's grocery stores resulting in 6,000 jobs lost.  They acquired Dominck's grocery chain, engaged a hedge fund, hyped up the stock price and then promptly shuttered the Illinois neighborhood grocery.  The excuse is these Dominick's grocery stores serve low profit margin geographical locations.  In other words, Safeway doesn't want to offer grocery access to poor people.

Human Nature Needs to Be Back in Business

When two bombs exploded this spring near the Boston Marathon finish line, many rushed to help those who were hurt.  We read about their actions with approval and admiration, but not with surprise.  On some level people understand that it is human nature to try to help, even if doing so involves risk or sacrifice.

This part of human nature is largely absent in business, a world that believes almost entirely in motivation through self-interest and even in the social good of self-interest

CEO Pay is a Tax on You

corppolitcs A most interesting study came out of the left leaning Institute for Policy Studies. They found 26 corporations paid more to their CEO than they actually paid in taxes. IPS compared executive compensation to how much tax write offs that pay package gives and conclude excessive compensation is a tax on you. Corporations are raking it in and not paying much to Uncle Sam. CEOs aren't being rewarded for actual performance, the excessive pay is more reflective on our loophole ridden corporate tax code. IPS estimates CEO pay at 26 firms is equivalent to a $46 dollar tax on every person in America, or $14.4 billion per year.

  • Of last year’s 100 highest-paid U.S. corporate chief executives, 26 took home more in CEO pay than their companies paid in federal income taxes, up from the 25 we noted in last year’s analysis. Seven firms made the list in both 2011 and 2010.
  • Once again, low corporate tax bills, or large refunds, cannot be explained by low profits. On average, the 26 firms had more than $1 billion in U.S. pre-tax income but still received net tax benefits that averaged $163 million.
  • The CEOs of these 26 firms received $20.4 million in average total compensation last year. That's a 23 percent increase over the average for last year’s list of 2010's tax dodging executives.
  • Two of the firms that paid their CEOs more than Uncle Sam, Citigroup and AIG, owe their very continued existence to taxpayer bailouts.
  • Combined, the 26 firms have 537 subsidiaries in tax-haven countries such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Gibraltar.

Tales a Waggin' at Goldman Sachs


How much money did we make off the client?

This quote describes the new corporate culture exposed by ex-Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith. In a scathing commentary, Smith says Goldman Sachs preys off of their clients and the company is all about making money...for Goldman Sachs and themselves, that is. Internally they call clients Muppets, institutions and people to milk money from.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.