Business values and valuations were recurring themes at the ICAEW Finance Director’s conference. Tim Melville-Ross, director general of the Institute of Directors, spoke about business ethics.
He said that research conducted by Stanford University in the US suggested that the companies that had been consistently successful over many years were those such as Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble and Merck which had laid greater emphasis on factors such as continuity of values, investment in people and the pursuit of objectives other than just profit.
Sir John Banham, chairman of Tarmac and Kingfisher and former director general of the CBI, said that businesses which outperformed the stockmarket were those where the board had an unusually acute understanding of the business environment and could anticipate events; which had worked out how to turn strategy into action; and which had leaders who lead from the front.
“The rest of the corporate governance literature, in my opinion, is fit for not much more than the dustbin,” he said. “Indeed, it’s a rather sad commentary on our corporate governance industry to look at what’s happened to the share prices of the authors of some of the most notable texts on corporate governance.”
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