One of former General Electric (GE) CEO Jack Welch’s oft-quoted maxims was how he wished to be judged on the company’s performance following his departure. It’s rather unfortunate then that GE is worth less than half what it was in 1999.

Wouldn’t it be nice to judge the successes of the "superhero" CEOs, such as those who have left Woolworths and Shoprite, by how the companies’ share prices fare in the years following their departure? It is hardly surprising that Ann Crotty, in her excellent commentary (Cover Story, February 7-13; February 14-20), questions the remuneration and corporate governance policies adopted by such heavyweight corporations. Despite the general outcry by media, little seems to be new in these spheres and more blame is shifted to macro-factors such as consumer confidence, electricity and regulation as reasons for poor performance. Important as these factors are to sustainable performance, how can senior executives have it both ways? When the times are go...

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