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Shameless Greed

Entry 1078, on 2009-08-26 at 21:48:01 (Rating 5, News)

A controversy has erupted here in New Zealand over the substantial salary (plus bonuses and other incentives) being paid to Paul Reynolds, the CEO of Telecom which is our main telecommunications company. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) has labelled the NZ$5 million payment as "shameless greed" and I think I would agree.

It would be bad enough under any circumstances but in the middle of a recession when so many other people have been asked to economise its particularly immoral. I always find it interesting that the people demanding economy from others never seem to apply the same rules to themselves.

Telecom recently changed the employment conditions for their engineers, making them owner/operators, but effectively removing the company's responsibility for their work conditions and salary. How can it be OK to save money that way and waste it in others?

Of course there is the argument that CEO is a responsible job and he deserves that level of pay for the stress and pressure the job entails. That's just another part of the big lie that management spreads, in my opinion. I really think they have fooled themselves as much as everyone else into thinking that managers are brilliant and hard working. Because they really believe this it makes accepting these huge salaries "shamelessly" easier I guess. If that delusion didn't exist maybe they would feel a bit of the same shame most people would in the same situation.

But someone must think he's worth it or they wouldn't pay him, right? The problem with that theory is that the people making the decision are also part of the culture of greed which pervades big corporations. It happens again and again: gross incompetence from leaders is rewarded (look at the payments made to the leaders of big American corporations during the recession at the same time as the corporations were failing).

I know this is beginning to sound like a bit of a conspiracy theory but I think there is a certain amount of validity in it. Why would anyone pay a CEO a full bonus even when the company profit has dropped by over 40 percent? You've really got to wonder what he could do to not get the bonus.

I suppose dreaming up this disgusting trick he has played on the engineers is worth a big payment. Bonuses seem to be linked to being immoral, greedy and antisocial. I wonder if Reynolds will ever reach the lows of his repulsive predecessor, Theresa Gattung? That would really take some great work on his part but he seems to be well on the way!

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Comment 2 (2465) by OJB on 2009-08-29 at 10:28:28: (view earlier comments)

Well Kate seems to being abandoned even by her own traditional supporters (farmers and even the head of the New Zealand Institute of Management - see my latest blog entry). I think the general "zeitgeist" on this is changing. It seems that public opinion is swinging against these immoral rogues and people aren't going to put up with this crap any more. Partly this is just a cyclical change and partly a reaction against the incompetence of senior business leaders which lead to the financial crisis.

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Comment 3 (2472) by SBFL on 2009-08-29 at 22:49:27:

I was hoping you'd put a comment up on her blog but it seems not. Oh well.

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Comment 4 (2475) by OJB on 2009-08-30 at 09:41:11:

Its hardly worth commenting on. Just lots of unsubstantiated statements, biased opinions, and the usual sort of stuff we expect in these situations - a little bit like my post, I guess! :)

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Comment 5 (2477) by SBFL on 2009-08-30 at 10:10:54:

Well good you have retained your sense of humour. I was starting to get a bit worried there, considering recent discussions.

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Comment 6 (2481) by OJB on 2009-08-30 at 21:34:30:

Well anyone who can't appreciate the irony in, or see the humour in, their own comments has lost their sense of perspective, I feel.

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