Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

To describe them, as some analysts do, as a form of indentured labour for executives may be going a bit far considering the devastating effects of that 19th-century near-slavery system and the comparatively cosseted life of today’s average executive. But the various share-based executive incentive schemes embedded in every company controlled or established by Christo Wiese do share one critical similarity in that they would have had devastating effects on every one of the "incentivised" executives if allowed to run their contracted course. Fortunately for the 21st-century executives they have hapless shareholders to bail them out. In the past 12 months these schemes have exploded across the Wiese empire like landmines triggered by a retreating enemy. In this instance the enemy is surely hubris. The excessive confidence in individuals and markets that underpinned these ultimately destructive schemes has wreaked havoc and revealed the control-obsessed cynicism with which they were imp...

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