Few top US companies have taken the plunge and split the role of
chairman and CEO in two. Crikey has a look at who has made the
move Dan who is resisting:
The trend to separate the role of chairman and CEO is growing around the world.

McDonalds and Disney have done it in the past few weeks so the pressure
will be on Australian executive chairman such as Rupert Murdoch, James
Packer, Kerry Stokes, Gerry Harvey, Frank Lowy, David Clarke and John
Gay to follow suit.

Recent separations of the combined Chairman and CEO role include:

  • Walt Disney – Chairman George Mitchell, CEO Michael Eisner
  • McDonalds – Chairman Andrew McKenna, CEO Charlie Bell
  • Dell Inc – Chairman TBA, CEO Michael Dell
  • Oracle Corp – Chairman TBA, CEO Larry Ellison
  • Boston Stock Exchange – Chairman Kenneth Leibler, CEO Michael Curran
  • Microsoft – Chairman Bill Gates, CEO Steve Ballmer

American companies which have yet to make the move away from the Chairman and CEO, two-in-one are:

  • Ford – Bill Ford Jr.
  • GE – Jeff Immelt
  • ExxonMobil – Lee Raymond
  • Goldman Sachs – Henry Paulson
  • Berkshire Hathaway – Warren Buffett
  • IBM – Samuel J. Palmisano

Of course, it was the role of Ken Lay as executive chairman of Enron
which triggered the worldwide move to separate the roles. The other
most famous US corporate collapse was Worldcom and it had already
separated the rolls with former News Corp director Bert Roberts as
chairman above CEO Bernie Ebbers.

Crikey is going to keep monitoring this trend on a regular basis so
please send through any developments that you spot in your travels.

Peter Fray

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