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January 18, 2010

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HP, Intel Add Voices to Say on Pay

Some companies, U.S. House support advisory votes on executive compensation

In mid-January, Hewlett-Packard said directors would allow shareholders at its 2010 annual meeting to vote on whether the company should conduct an annual nonbinding advisory stockholder vote on executive compensation.

If it is approved, the advisory vote will be taken at the 2011 annual meeting “and each year thereafter,” the company said.  And, HP added, it supports federal legislation giving shareholders “an opportunity to express their views on the executive compensation policies of publicly held companies.”



Treasury Restricts Executive Pay for Bailed Out Companies

Some companies expected to avoid regulation by rejecting recovery

The simmering executive pay pot boiled over the first week of February.

President Barack Obama and the treasury department moved to restrict executive pay packages at financial firms receiving “exceptional financial recovery assistance.”



President Attacks Wall Street Bonus Practices

Obama deems paying out of billions in compensation "height of irresponsibility"

When the president calls your behavior “shameful,” you know you have a problem on your hands.

Wall Street’s hat-in-the-hand clamoring for taxpayer help amid the financial meltdown—while shoveling out billions of dollars on bonuses—has triggered a wave of reaction against the financial industry’s traditional compensation gravy train.


Obama Urges End to Politics as Usual

President Obama focuses on sagging national confidence and economy in inauguration address

Barack Obama called Americans into a "new era of responsibility" during his inauguration Tuesday as the 44th president of the United States, echoing the words and planned policies of his past few months' transition to power. The financial crisis was one of the first issues Obama touched on in his address to the 2 million people gathered in Washington, D.C. and billions more watching on screens around the world.

"Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age," Obama said. Calling on examples of the nation's history of struggle and sacrifice, Obama said U.S. greatness must be earned, both domestically and abroad.


Obama Takes on Responsibility With Cabinet Appointment

President-elect charges new chief performance officer with restoring accountability and transparency to D.C.

As part of his plan to bring “a new sense of responsibility to Washington,” President-elect Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he named Nancy Killefer to the newly created role of chief performance officer.

In what Obama called “one of the most important” appointments to his cabinet, Killefer will be responsible for budget and government reformation.



Integrating Circuits and Responsibility

Intel constructs powerful agenda for new initiatives

Despite lofty positions on various best-of corporate responsibility and sustainability rankings, including the No. 1 slot on CRO’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens 2008 list, chip maker Intel—led in its CR efforts by Dave Stangis, its Director of Corporate Responsibility—believes its efforts are still a work in progress.

These planned improvements come at a time when various antitrust lawsuits against the company and an anti-competition investigation recently launched by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reach critical mass.



China Checkup

Companies move beyond penning codes of conduct to auditing supply chain practices

There was a time, long past, that companies with heavy exposure to manufacturers in China, were content to draft supplier codes of conduct and human rights policies. But, today, global corporations are stepping up and getting very involved in monitoring and clamping down on rogue supply chain practices in Asia and beyond. Integral to many companies’ operations, supply chains in China are front page news, thanks to grim revelations about threats to U.S. public health and safety.


Government Requires Ethics Code for Contractors

Companion proposal seeks employee disclosure of criminal violations of government contracts

New Federal Acquisition Regulations, effective Dec. 24, 2007, require companies receiving government contracts to have a written code of business ethics, to establish an employee business ethics and compliance training program, and an internal control system.

The changes apply to contractors working for the Defense Department, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, but generally exclude contracts below $5 million. And the rules don't apply to contracts for work done wholly outside the U.S., which some commentators have noted would exclude many contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.



A Sub-Primal Scream

Bottom-line CR impact: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase demonstrate good governance and results, but other firms see fortunes destroyed

With the housing market implosion spurring writedowns and losses of more than $200 billion in subprime mortgages, other credit, and mortgage-backed securities since the beginning of 2007, and assuredly with more to come, many banks and brokerages are scurrying to revamp the way they manage risk as investors and other stakeholders are demanding answers about what went wrong.

Why things went awry varied from firm to firm, and financial services companies have weathered the crisis to date with divergent degrees of success—or failure.



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