What kind of screw do you use to screw your shareholders?
Dodging investors angry over the pay received by Home Depot chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli, who took home at least $120 million over five years as the company's stock price dropped 12 percent, Home Depot's board fails to show up at its annual shareholders meeting.
The session is presided over solely by Nardelli, who sidesteps all questions ("This is not the forum in which we would address your comment") and cuts the meeting short after half an hour. The event's negative fallout, highlighted by demonstrators wearing chicken costumes and orange Home Depot aprons, leads Nardelli to announce days later that, for next year's meeting, "we will return to our traditional format ... with the board of directors in attendance."
Nardelli resigns in early January, walking away with another $210 million in severance.
But his winning lottery ticket was destroyed by lightning, so it all evens out in the end...
In the midst of corporate America's scandal du jour - the backdating of stock options to enrich company executives - the Wall Street Journal discovers that William McGuire, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, received options on dates coinciding with the company's lowest share prices of 1997, 1999, and 2000.
After a company inquiry finds backdating to have been "likely" (the odds of this happening by chance are around 1 in 200 million), McGuire steps down and agrees to give up about $200 million in proceeds.
His mistake: the fake passport with the name I.M. Outtahere...
In an effort to top UnitedHealth in the annals of backdating, executives at Comverse Technology are alleged not only to have backdated their own options but to have invented fake employees to receive grants as well.
In a 35-count federal indictment, prosecutors claim that CEO Jacob Alexander used a slush fund under the name I.M. Fanton to make awards as he saw fit.
Alexander flees the country but is taken into custody in Namibia after a six-week international manhunt.
Thus giving an entirely new meaning to the phrase "working stiff."
Not to be outdone by UnitedHealth and Comverse, cable-TV operator Cablevision Systems admits in a regulatory filing that it granted stock options to a corpse.
The company awarded the rights to purchase thousands of shares to former vice chairman Marc Lustgarten, despite the fact that he died in 1999; the options included provisions that allowed them to pass to his estate.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison
Yet another difference between Larry Ellison and God...
In June, Harvard University scraps plans for the Ellison Institute for World Health after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison reneges on a $115 million donation promised to the school 10 months earlier.
Oracle spokesman Bob Wynne says Ellison decided to withdraw his pledge as the result of the resignation of Harvard president Lawrence Summers, but he vows that Ellison will announce plans for a donation to another organization within a few weeks.
Ellison has yet to announce such plans.
That sure doesn't sound like the "HP Way" we all remember...
Concerned about boardroom leaks, Hewlett-Packard starts an investigation that spins out of control, with private eyes obtaining the personal phone records of board members under false pretenses and inspecting journalists' trash in an attempt to discover the source of the leaks.
The tactics ultimately lead to state and federal investigations, the grilling of top HP brass by a congressional committee, and the resignation of several top executives, including chairman Patricia Dunn, who pleads not guilty to California charges of felony fraud and identity theft.
Time Warner's Wayne Pace
Time Warner's latest attempt at horizontal integration...
A woman whom New York police allege works as a madam says Time Warner chief financial officer Wayne Pace was her "sugar daddy," offering her clothes, cash, and other gifts and helping her buy a $500,000 Manhattan apartment.
Andreia Schwartz makes the claims in a jailhouse interview with the New York Post in which she also denies being a madam or accepting money from Pace in exchange for sex.
Pace has his lawyer acknowledge that he and Schwartz were friends but denies any sort of "inappropriate relationship."
Bank of America
In related news, the Department of Corrections has announced that death-row inmates will now be required to pedal stationary bikes to power Old Sparky...
After Bank of America announces plans to outsource 100 tech support jobs from the San Francisco Bay Area to India, the American workers are told that they must train their own replacements in order to receive their severance payments.
Sounds like a totally rips**t videogame...
After leading videogame-console startup Gizmondo to nearly $400 million in losses and a bankruptcy filing, edgy entrepreneur Stefan Eriksson wrecks his $1 million Ferrari Enzo in a crash in Malibu in February.
Eriksson tests above the blood-alcohol limit but tells police that he wasn't driving, and that the driver, "Dietrich," ran into the hills after the crash.
It's soon discovered that Eriksson's wrecked Enzo is actually owned by a British bank, and two more cars he claims to own, another Enzo and a Mercedes McLaren, have been reported stolen in England.
Eriksson pleads no contest to embezzlement and drunk driving charges and is sentenced to three years in jail.
Bosses behaving badly | 1 | Business 2.0