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Break Up Imminent?

My company has had a bad run of late. Structurally we play in two large sectors: one purely local and the other both locally and on a global scale. The locally focussed business is THE market leader and an incredible generator of cash. The more global business, while one of many, is still a reasonably large player too, both in the local and global sense.

With a stock market focussed mainly on the next six to twelve months set of numbers, it is clear that the ill-performing unit is a dragging back the entire firm.

The quandry is if she company is split in two, it would open the possibility that the local business is swallowed up by any number of large global players. It’s funny how the best laid plans can still end up in a company disappearing forever.

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No Bonuses

As a publicly listed company, we posted our full financial year results earlier this week. The news is not good – at least for employees hoping for a bonus. The overall result matched market perceptions (despite including some massive write downs) coupled with a larger than expected dividend. The thing is, the result was below any trigger for employee bonuses.
There are a couple of points to infer here:
(1) The company couldn’t find better uses for the masses of cash that the company generates;
(2) The dividend was perhaps a tradeoff between shareholders and employees.
In the end, a corporate board has to respond to the market. They have to continually show that the company is growing – providing guidance every six months. So, even if the plans formulated are lousy, the numbers revealed to the market have to be good. In our case, people have worked hard but their efforts haven’t delivered the results, so no bonuses. Bummer.

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Olympics? What Olympics?

Apologies for the political statement in a blog dedicated to corporate life. I don’t think I saw any more than five minutes of the broadcast – mostly through news bites and channel surfing. I think we need to make a stand on issues like this; when commercial demands have to occur at the cost of personal rights, I certainly think that something has seriously gone wrong. It’s a choice.

End of rant.

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Gaa! Conference.

The one thing I really dislike about work are conferences that require overnight stays. Not only are you away from the comfort of family but the dread of having to deal with the awkwardness generated by:

  • the likelihood that colleagues are going to get drunk and make fools of themselves
  • the expectation that one is to join in such frivolities
  • returning to a room that may be shared with one other work-stranger

There are also the ludicrous games that people are expected to play: dress-ups, role-plays and performances. I’m not sure why conferences require these silly things. It’s not like they’re any more productive.

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Becoming a Corporate Somebody

My job is fairly high profile – at least internally. I’m the guy that people go to if they have a query about market information. That’s not to say that I necessarily know about all the dynamics of the industry. I’m the funnel – all market information coming into the company go through me. By inference, people expect me to understand what’s going on.

So, from time to time I get the MD walking to my desk, wanting to understand this or that. The other day, I got a call from our CEO, too.

I never really sought to be a high profile corporate person. It’s sheer luck that I found this job. It’s also lucky that I like it and apparently I’m quite competent at it.

It just goes to show that sometimes, it does fall your way.

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