[Marxism] Harvard Business Review Ranks Amazon's Jeff Bezos as Most Predatory CEO | naked capitalism
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Tue Oct 13 07:11:40 MDT 2015
(Yves has also called for a boycott of Amazon - see final paragraph, below.)
Harvard Business Review just published its annual ranking of “Best Performing CEOs in the World“. The noteworthy part, picked up by the Financial Times, is that last year’s numero uno, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, fell from his perch to number 87 based on Amazon’s poor social responsibility marks. The new “best CEO” is Lars Rebien Sorensen of Novo Nordisk, a biotech player best known for a diabetes drug.
The Harvard Business Review deserves credit for this small but important symbolic step to redefine corporate success away from purely financial considerations and to include broader societal impact. As the story stated:
'How did this mild-mannered, bespectacled executive land in the #1 spot on our list? It’s partly due to his company’s (darkly) fortuitous decision years ago to focus almost exclusively on diabetes treatment. The runaway global growth of the disease has driven up the company’s sales and stock price.
'But his standing also reflects Novo Nordisk’s deep engagement with social and environmental issues, which now factor in to our calculations. “Corporate social responsibility is nothing but maximizing the value of your company over a long period,” says Sørensen, who has been with the company for 33 years. “In the long term, social and environmental issues become financial issues.”'
Having said that, the Harvard Business Review is only taking small steps in pressing for broader notions of performance and accountability. The financial metrics count for 80% of the total score, and the “social responsibility” measures, a mere 20%. But this is still a long-overdue move in a better direction.
Perhaps as important, the Harvard Business Review methodology unwittingly allows the public to see which CEO is the most predatory, by looking at the divergence between its financial standing versus its score on “environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance.” Now admittedly this is not identical to a measurement of impact on the community, broadly defined. For instance, governance issues tend to be of more concern to shareholders than other stakeholders, but it is true that the companies with the most insulated, imperial CEOs have a tendency to play fast and loose as far as the law and regulations are concerned (one example is Jamie Dimon, who is still both chairman, CEO, and president of JP Morgan, and managed to get away with appallingly lax internal controls and misrepresentations to shareholders and regulators, and has also been widely reported to bully central bankers like Mark Carney and Ben Bernanke).
Nevertheless, we’ve called on readers to boycott and/or limit their use of Amazon. It’s only when Amazon starts to pay a real price for its practices that it will be forced to make changes.
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