Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All Public Company CEOs Should be Required to Attend Quarterly Earnings Calls

This morning, Vikram Pandit decided not to attend Citi's (C) earnings' call. To me, this is an affront to any C shareholder. Even in the best of times, a public company CEO should see it as a job requirement to be on these 4x a year calls. After taking billions from taxpayers, I'm amazed that Pandit couldn't fit this in his schedule and left CFO Ned Kelly to soldier on without him. Whatever conflict Pandit had, he should have rearranged it. The optics are terrible and optics matter these days.

Next week, Microsoft (MSFT) will report. Until the last earnings' call in January, Steve Ballmer had routinely skipped these opportunities to communicate with his shareholders -- leaving his CFO, Chris Liddell, to fend for himself. I simply can't understand such reasoning. Do you think Larry Ellison skips out on these kinds of calls? Never.

We shouldn't need Mary Schapiro at the SEC to have to mandate this: public company CEOs need to simply start seeing these calls as obligations -- not distractions.

Originally published in RealMoney.com on 4/17/2009 3:39 PM EDT

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