While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted up
On approaching his 60th birthday this year, long-serving Tullow Oil boss Aidan Heavey told staff he felt “like two 30-year-olds”. A handful of recent shock departures by 50-something chief executives at European blue chip companies – none of them under any obvious pressure to quit – suggest some of his peers either lack that vigour, or want to channel it elsewhere.
Peter Voser is giving up one of the world’s most challenging chief executive roles at Royal Dutch Shell next year, before his 55th birthday, in pursuit of a “lifestyle change”. Swiss engineering group ABB’s 55-year-old boss Joe Hogan is also going, for “private reasons”. Pierre-Olivier Beckers, 53, is walking out on Belgian retailer Delhaize, and Paul Walsh, 57, is waving goodbye to drinks multinational Diageo. All four are about average European CEO age.
While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted up in recent years, and not just because of the tough economic times.
“The reality is it’s gruelling. It’s really tough, and there comes a point where you don’t want to do it any more,” said Ian Butcher, who headhunts board-level and senior executives for MWM Consulting.
“The quarterly reporting, the governance, the regulatory aspects, it just becomes very wearing – the level of scrutiny, the pace at which things are moving, the short-term nature of how people look at any given situation. Even over the past five years these things have made CEO a tougher position to hold, and the travel that people have to undertake in these jobs – it’s just something they run out of steam on.”
Some recent early retirees, while still well short of traditional retirement age, also got to the top spot early. “They’re still in their early fifties, with energy and a desire to do something, but they want to do something different, something quite significantly different sometimes,” says Butcher.
Voser fits that bill. He has no plans to collect well-paid chairmanships and non-executive directorships, as many ex-CEOs have done in the past.
Former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy has also resisted that gravy train since he left two years ago.
As for the early starters, executive search industry professionals point at people like Andrew Witty, the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, who took on the job aged 44 in 2008 and would have to stay in harness for another decade to reach 60 in the role.
Blue-chip bosses as young as Witty are still rare, but over a quarter of Europe’s current crop have less than two years in the job, and more than half have less than four, according to data from executive search specialists BoardEx.
The BoardEx data, collected for Reuters from 238 companies in the main stock indexes of Germany, Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark, puts the median CEO age at 55. The longest serving of them is Martin Gilbert of the British fund Aberdeen Asset Management. Though younger, at 57, Gilbert pips the 28.3-year tenure of Tullow’s double 30-year-old Heavey, with 29.8 years at the helm.
There are 17 top European CEOs who have been in the job for less than six months, and the youngest of the 225 in the group for whom ages were available is Vitaly Nesis, 37, who runs Polymetal International, the London-listed Russian precious metals miner.
While the recent spate of quitters are looking for something else to do, there are still some who appear to want nothing but to stay.
In the BoardEx group there are four over 70, and the oldest by eight years is Albert Frère, CEO of Group Bruxelles Lambert. Perhaps some linger on for fear that the pension pot is still a little light. Frere will have put such qualms behind him long ago. At 87, he is Belgium’s richest man.
HARBIN, China, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ —
China Education Alliance, Inc. (“China Education Alliance” or the “Company”,
OTCQX: CEAI), a China-based education resource and services company, today
announced its first quarter 2013 financial results.
Poorer nations lose three times more money to havens a year than they get in aid. The G8 has the chance to change this
The Guardian has brought yet more news about the widespread use of tax havens by some of the world’s largest multinationals operating in developing countries. From ActionAid’s own investigations we know that these tax havens can all too often provide vehicles for tax avoidance that hits the world’s poorest hardest.
In the case of just one FTSE100 multinational we recently investigated – Associated British Foods, maker of Ryvita and Silver Spoon sugar – we found the company had used tax haven conduit companies to legally avoid enough Zambian tax to put 48,000 children in school. Zambia is a nation where almost half of children fail to complete their education.
Tax haven secrecy can also be used to deflect scrutiny from a range of unaccountable transactions in developing nations. Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel last week highlighted mining deals involving two FTSE100 multinationals, carried out through companies in the British Virgin Islands, Panama and Gibraltar, which the panel claims have deprived the Democratic Republic of Congo of an estimated $1.36bn – almost twice the country’s education and health budgets combined.
From near-deserted Caribbean islands to major financial centres, tax havens offer a harbour for wealth and profits siphoned from around the world. Tax havens provide the legal machinery for tax avoiders, and protection for illegal tax evaders, denying developing economies the public revenues needed for hospitals, schools, clean water and functioning roads. The figures are staggering. According to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, developing countries lose three times more money to tax havens each year than they receive in aid.
The statistics cannot, of course, show the tax impact of each tax haven company. Some may indeed have real business, and not simply be avoiding taxes in places where real business is done. But this is precisely the point: corporate reporting fails to show the transactions and tax bills of multinationals’ operations in many of these jurisdictions. And these same jurisdictions often deny this information to under-resourced tax authorities in the world’s poorest countries too.
Tax haven structures may be nearly universal, but they are not a fact of nature in modern business. Financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown and mining company Fresnillo, for instance, have no tax haven subsidiaries at all, despite operating in sectors that are no strangers to “offshore”. Others are making efforts at least to disclose their tax structures around the world: when ActionAid put questions about their tax haven companies to all FTSE100 companies, 15 responded with significant extra details.
Yet overall there is little incentive not to place profits and assets in tax haven companies, or to disclose these profits and assets, unless governments themselves end the secrecy and abusive tax regimes that tax havens offer. The countries represented at June’s G8 have a unique combination of economic and political weight, responsibility and jurisdiction over the problem. The UK alone is responsible for one in five of the world’s tax havens, more than any other single country in the world. Yet while the UK and other wealthy countries have recently begun to push their tax havens to disclose the financial assets that their taxpayers hold offshore, these deals as yet leave developing countries out in the cold.
The G8 can and must commit to ending the anonymous ownership of tax haven companies and trusts, and making tax havens disclose the information that tax authorities around the world desperately need. To fix the biggest part of this problem the information it generates must be available for all countries – including the poorest – from day one.
When the UK government convenes the leaders of the world’s wealthiest countries at the G8 summit this June, it has an opportunity, an interest and a duty to do something extraordinary: to tackle one of the biggest hidden obstacles in the fight against poverty by putting an end to tax havens. With David Cameron, George Osborne, François Hollande, Angela Merkel, other world leaders and ordinary taxpayers calling for change, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. None of us – from the richest to the poorest countries – can afford for the G8 to miss it.
The news that Bloomberg reporters were permitted to see how clients used the company’s financial data terminals raises concerns about privacy.
Original post: Bloomberg still has plenty of fans on Wall Street
For filings with the FSA include the annex< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />