Aussie shares had their biggest rise — virtually 2% — in yonks yesterday. Metals prices staged a good rebound and the banks were back in favour. It seems the scary scenarios involving US recession and/or war with Iran have receded, certainly as demonstrated by what is now a big decline in the price of oil.

The Telstra imbroglio rumbles on. Sol Trujillo, the man so concerned with probity that he said several months was not sufficient to check the credentials of a director nominated by the Prime Minister (the Prime Minister!), is reported by The Oz to have hired “mates” within days of joining Telstra. These “mates” eventually earned $54 million in fees doing what consultants do best, justifying their sponsor’s prejudices.

Now that the SAS is back, hardened by their fights with the toughest foe since Vietnam, they may try keeping their hand in with Sol and the Amigos. (Just joking, Sol; just joking Prime Minister.)

Sol’s generous bonus, it seems, is due to him achieving several (unspecified) performance criteria. While Chairman Don McGauchie and Remuneration Chair Charles Machek would claim to be experts in corporate governance, if there is no or only a small weight to “shareholder value” in the performance hurdles, they must have forsaken substance for the appearance of probity. This is a practice all too common in the weird world of modern corporate governance. In fact, such outrageous behaviour is a predictable response to the thicket of regulation that surrounds the modern company, as pointed out by Henry’s editor many years ago.

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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