Category Archives: News and Events

Describes new books, articles, and upcoming speeches.

“Beyond Disappointing” and “Deeply Disturbing Conduct”

New Wells Fargo CEO, Charles Scharf, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, regarding the findings of a House report on behaviors at Wells since the time of the discovery of the 3.5 million fake accounts, give or take a … Continue reading

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Barclays CEO Might Not Have Been Candid

Mercy! These CEOs. The Barometer is thinking of a new book — The Seven Things CEOs Do That Cost Them and Their Companies Dearly. Lack of candor would be one of them. Here comes Yes Staley, CEO of Barclays. Do … Continue reading

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“Boeing CEO Regrets Candor”

There’s a headline that inspires confidence in the new leadership of a company that has been struggling with, well, candor with the public, with regulators, and with itself. Alison Sider and Andrew Tangel, Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2020. New … Continue reading

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The Goodwill Accounting Trap: Newell Brands Gets an SEC Subpoena

Newell Brands (Rubbermaid) has received a subpoena from the SEC following informal information requests. Uh oh! Newell purchased a competitor (Jarden) in 2016 for $20 billion. That brought $8.3 billion in goodwill to its books and, as a bonus, quadrupled … Continue reading

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Former Baltimore Mayor Gets Three Years

Catherine Pugh made $800,000 selling her self-published children’s health books to those nonprofits and foundations that could benefit from the Mayor’s noblesse oblige in spreading around city grants and funding to those purchasing the books. There were issues with failure … Continue reading

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Picking Up New Boots at a Party

The Ethicist column in the Sunday New York Times generally has questions about racist neighbors, landlords, etc. or roofers who have Confederate flags on their trucks. My favorite was the politically incorrect landlord that the tenant did not want to … Continue reading

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Arthur Levitt and PCAOB

The Trump Administration has proposed putting the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (or as we called it in the early days, “Peek-a-Boo”) under the SEC. Arthur Levitt, a former head of the SEC who was effective in exposing accounting mumbo … Continue reading

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Kicking the Trade: Car Dealers Telling Buyers to Give Their Cars to the Repo Guy

Car dealers seem to be giving some bad credit advice to customers who bought a car above their pay-grades. The advice? Buy another car, then turn the first car over to the repo guy. The dealer makes two sales instead … Continue reading

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The Misguided Pardon of Michael Milken

Like the Astros, Mr. Milken has never gotten it. During his time since prison (he served only two years of a ten-year sentence because of prostate cancer), he has twice been involved deal-making despite a lifetime ban against, well, deal-making. … Continue reading

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The Astros on Apologies: How Not to Do It

It was painful to read. The reports on the apology fest of the Astros leave you with one thought, “C’mon guys!”The report of the Commissioner, which you can find here (https://img.mlbstatic.com/mlb-images/image/upload/mlb/cglrhmlrwwbkacty27l7.pdf.) reads a tad differently. The union got the players … Continue reading

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The Bidding Process In and Amongst Auditors

There is a criminal investigation into the process that Sealed Air followed in selecting Ernst & Young (EY) as its external auditor. Senior executives at Sealed Air allegedly favored EY by leaking details of competitor KPMG’s bid.The same two executives … Continue reading

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The Guts of BlackRock

BlackRock, the fund manager, fired two of its senior executives last year. The executives had romantic relationships with subordinates. What else is new, you sniff. However, BlackRock did not send out the usual “leaving to spend more time with their … Continue reading

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Shakespearean Endings to Tragic Lives

Bernie Ebbers, the former CEO of WorldCom, a company that was once the largest company in the U.S. (capitalization). Of course, that ranking assumed that the accounting was accurate. It was not — the company had $3 billion in accounting … Continue reading

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“Jeff Bezos Sued by Girlfriend’s Brother”

Wall Street Journal headline February 3, 2020, p. A3 Michael Sanchez, the brother of Lauren Sanchez, Mr. Bezos’s girlfriend, has filed a defamation suit against Jeff Bezos for allegedly claiming that he (Michael) leaked the suggestive photos of Mr. Bezos … Continue reading

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