Top Stories

March 04, 2013

Corporate Reputation

Swiss crackdown turns up the heat on executive pay

The growing global revolt against excessive executive pay has surfaced in Switzerland, where voters endorsed a plan to impose strict controls on how much bosses of public companies can earn. This swell of public opinion looks set to translate into concrete action against big rewards for senior managers. While the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US market regulator, has introduced advisory shareholders votes on executive compensation, the new Swiss controls will be far stricter. Under the proposals, companies will face annual binding votes on compensation, bans on ‘golden hellos’ and ‘golden goodbyes’, where new and departing executives receive large lump sums, and limits on directors' terms. (Independent, BBC, EuroNews)


Women add diversity to boards

The drive to get more women on to FTSE boards is leading to greater diversity of experience, with new entrants coming from a variety of backgrounds, research has revealed. Female non-executive directors are coming from investment banking, the public sector, professional services and the not-for-profit sector, as well as from companies. The shift is revealed in a study by the Ashton Partnership, a headhunter group. Women now make up 17.4 percent of FTSE 100 and 12 percent of FTSE 250 board positions, up by nearly half since Lord Davies’s UK government-appointed committee on women on boards reported 18 months ago. (Financial Times*)

Social Business

Lloyds pledges support for social entrepreneurs

Support for social entrepreneurs in the UK is to be boosted further by Lloyds Banking Group, which has announced a new package of support for social entrepreneurs that is worth £14m. Its ‘Social Entrepreneurs Programme’, which follows a similar initiative run by the bank last year, is an alliance with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), which operates ten centres around the country. Lloyds' funding is enough to pay for learning support from the SSE for 1,300 social entrepreneurs, with the bank also pledging contributions of between £4,000 and £25,000 for each entrepreneur's organisation. (Independent)

Supply Chain

Samsung’s code of conduct under scrutiny

Samsung Electronics’ code of conduct has been put to the test as the world’s biggest technology group by sales was sued by three French rights groups last week. Samsung has been accused of misleading investor and consumers, amid allegations of labour abuses at its suppliers’ factories in China. The case highlights intensifying international scrutiny of working conditions in China, as well as growing concerns about multinational groups’ control over their complex supply chains. If successful, the lawsuit could open a new legal risk for companies whose suppliers breach labour laws. (Financial Times*)

Thai Prime Minister announces end to ivory trade

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has pledged to end ivory trade in Thailand, after an online petition gained nearly 1.5m signatures. Prime Minister Shinawatra said at the opening of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Bangkok that Thailand would take steps to end ivory trade – the first time the Thai Government has said this publicly. Thailand is currently the world’s largest unregulated ivory market, and campaign organisations WWF and TRAFFIC say that the move could go a long way towards stemming a “global poaching crisis” that causes the deaths of tens of thousands of elephants each year. (WWF, Reuters, Bangkok Post)

*Requires Subscription