Publications 

5 April 2018

It’s hunting season, as activists and regulators open fire on Canada’s businesses

The corporate hunting season is officially underway, an annual ritual during which shareholder parties, armed with proxies and other weapons of democratic destruction, set out to bag executives and directors for failing to deliver. The list of potential corporate failings is all encompassing. Anything and everything is a target, from executive compensation to diversity policies […]

5 April 2018

Executive pay: time for change ?

A highly standardized process leads to yearly executive pay packages which combine salary, bonuses, stock options, restricted stock grants, performance share units, retirement benefits. The full assemblage will also include formal contracts covering change-of-control situations, termination conditions, etc.  Only the quanta of the compensation package vary from firm to firm. Whenever “long-term” performance objectives are […]

9 March 2018

Sharing the spoils of legalized cannabis

Statistics Canada estimates that, in 2017, “4.9 million Canadians aged 15 to 64 spent an estimated $5.7 billion on cannabis for medical (10% of the market) and non-medical (90% of the market) purposes. This was equivalent to around $1,200 per cannabis consumer.” Private companies, several of them listed on the stock exchange and already supplying […]

17 January 2018

Liberals launch a fresh attack on corporations. They may not win

As a longtime member of the Association of Correspondents Tracking the War On Corporations, I have embedded with troops of lawyers, activists and corporate officials through the great battles of the last several decades. From the failure to ward off the stakeholder invasion of the 1990s to the great executive retreat at the Battle of […]

2 January 2018

Canada’s top CEOs will make $50K before noon on Jan. 2

If they were to live on the average worker’s pay, Canada’s CEOs could stop working at around 11 a.m. on Jan. 2 and take the rest of the year off. That’s because by 10:57 a.m. on the second day of the year, their earnings will have already hit $49,738, the equivalent of the country’s average […]

7 December 2017

How a proposed new ‘right’ for shareholders could badly damage corporate boards

There is a frenzied rush to get/give a new ‘right” to shareholders, the right to put up their own nominees for board membership. Boards of directors, so goes a dominant opinion, are not to be fully trusted to pick the right kind of people as directors or to shift the membership swiftly as circumstances change, […]

21 November 2017

Canada’s ‘questionable’ CEO pay system needs overhaul: Think tank

Current executive compensation practices are making Canadian CEOs rich, but at the expense of a strong corporate culture and the long-term interests of shareholders, according to a new report from the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP). “Mutual trust, loyalty, the sharing of objectives and pride in the organization, the sense of […]

21 November 2017

Companies urged to rethink executive pay practices

Companies should give CEOs share units less often and stop paying them with stock options to motivate better long-term performance and minimize the role of luck in compensation payouts, a new report argues. The Quebec-based Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations has proposed revamping the model for executive pay in Canada, saying companies […]

21 November 2017

Here are the pay perks you’d enjoy if you were a CEO in Canada

The typical Canadian CEO makes $8 million a year, 140 times the average private-sector salary, according to new research by the Montreal-based Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP). In the banking sector, that ratio is even higher, with the median CEO compensation at $10.5 million. Things, though, weren’t always so. In 1998, […]

17 November 2017

Pershing Square, Ackman and CP Rail: A Case of Successful ”Activism” ?

Pershing Square, an activist hedge fund owned and managed by William Ackman, began hostile maneuvers against the board of CP Rail in September 2011 and ended its association with CP in August 2016, having netted a profit of $2.6 billion for his fund. This Canadian saga, in many ways, an archetype of what hedge fund […]