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    Highlights for week ending August 17, 2002
  • Wall Street Journal: Once High-Flying 401(k)s Pale Beside Payouts From Pensions. Excerpt: "Mr. O'Connor, a 51-year-old Illinois tax investigator, has an old-fashioned pension plan, the kind that pays a set monthly income for life. And it's a generous one: At the end of the year, he expects to take advantage of an early retirement program and draw a $54,000 annual pension, or 75% of his current salary. Mr. Lassandrello, 50, like most employees of private companies, has long relied on a 401(k) retirement plan. When the stock market soared, his nest egg seemed destined to provide a more comfortable retirement than his cousin's pension. But in the market tumble of the last two years, Mr. Lassandrello's retirement savings plunged 30%. If he stopped working now and wanted to be sure he wouldn't outlive his money, he could draw just $28,000 a year." If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--128 KB].

  • Although in pre-Gerstner years, IBM regularly topped Fortune's "Best Companies to Work For" list, IBM was missing once again this year from even the top 100. See Best Companies to Work For: America's Top Employers.

  • CBS MarketWatch: IBM jobs cuts will total 15,000. Excerpt: "IBM said it cut 14,200 jobs, most of them in the Global Services unit, as well as some in the server and software divisions. Another 1,400 jobs are being cut in the microelectronics business."

  • Wall Street Journal: IBM Cut 5% of Staff in Period, Double the Expected Number. Excerpts: "International Business Machines Corp., cutting about twice as many employees as expected amid the technology slump, said it laid off 15,613 employees during the second quarter, or about 5% of its global work force." ... "The numbers in this round of layoffs don't include the planned transfer of about 17,000 workers from IBM's hard-disk-drive division to a joint venture with Hitachi Ltd."

  • New York Times: India, Pakistan and G.E., by Thomas L. Friedman. Excerpts: "Two months ago India and Pakistan appeared headed for a nuclear war. Colin Powell, the U.S. secretary of state and a former general, played a key role in talking the two parties back from the brink. But here in India, I've discovered that there was another new, and fascinating, set of pressures that restrained the Indian government and made nuclear war, from its side, unthinkable. Quite simply, India's huge software and information technology industry, which has emerged over the last decade and made India the back-room and research hub of many of the world's largest corporations, essentially told the nationalist Indian government to cool it. And the government here got the message and has sought to de-escalate ever since. That's right — in the crunch, it was the influence of General Electric, not General Powell, that did the trick."

  • A request for help: No sure if anyone can help. Looking for info on the IBM sale of copiers to Kodak back in theh early 90's. Kodak them sold off to Danka in Mid to late 90's. Read more...
Alliance@IBM Logo This week at the Alliance@IBM Web site

 

Articles about corporate governance:

  • Fortune: The Greedy Bunch: You Bought. They Sold. All over corporate America, top execs were cashing in stock even as their companies were tanking. Who was left holding the bag? You. Excerpt: "The not-so-secret dirty secret of the crash is that even as investors were losing 70%, 90%, even in some cases all of their holdings, top officials of many of the companies that have crashed the hardest were getting immensely, extraordinarily, obscenely wealthy. They got rich because they were able to take advantage of the bubble to cash in hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of stock--stock that was usually handed to them via risk-free options--at vastly inflated prices. When the bubble burst, their shareholders were left holding the bag."

  • Fortune: The Greedy Bunch: You Bought. They Sold. (Ranked Table) "Meet the 25 companies with the greediest executives. Of the big companies whose stocks dropped 75% or more from their boom-time peak, these are the ones where officers and directors took out the most money via stock sales from January 1999 through May 2002. An exclusive study by FORTUNE, Thomson Financial, and the University of Chicago’s Center for Research in Securities Pricing." (Editor's note: Lou Gerstner is not included in this list since IBM's stock price did not "drop 75% or more from its boom-time peak."

  • Fortune: The Only Option (For Stock Options, That Is). Pretending they're free didn't work. Expensing them may be the silver bullet we're looking for. Excerpt: "But as Washington self-righteously scrambles to right the wrongs of corporate America, let's not forget that the illicit book-cooking revealed so far at Enron, WorldCom, and others was trifling compared with the entirely legal book-cooking that most of corporate America engages in: lavishing stock options on top executives and not deducting them as expenses. It is, without a doubt, the mother of all accounting abuses. Don't believe us? Listen to an acknowledged expert on profit-enhancing tricks: 'The most egregious [method], or the one that is used by every corporation in the world, is executive stock options. Essentially what you do is, you issue stock options to reduce compensation expense and therefore increase your profitability.'"
    • Annex Bulletin: Sir Lou OutLayed Lay! Excerpt: "Since the start of the IBM insider selling spree in late 1996, Gerstner has disposed of nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of IBM shares (about $424 million) for an estimated pretax profit of about $345 million."

  • Satire Wire (humor): Bush Vows Crackdown on Corporate Corruption Unless It Happened In 1990. Also Exempts Executives Whose Last Name Begins With "B".
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
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