Thursday, April 23, 2009

CEO Accountability: Why They Need to Be on all Earnings Calls - and Taking Questions

Some great feedback to my Friday post about how I think it's shameful when any public company CEO (like Vikram Pandit at C or Steve Ballmer at MSFT) misses a quarterly earnings call with analysts and (more importantly) shareholders.

One reader said:

As an institutional investor, I am appalled when CEOs aren't [on these calls], and I always read it as somehow sneaky or deceptive. Macy's (M) is famous for this. Terry Lundgren is NEVER on the calls. And Tom Ryan at CVS tried to get away with not being on the calls a while back, but finally came back. Mike Jeffries at ANF has been on and off the calls. As soon as his new CFO gets more settled, I bet he gets back off the call.

Next worse practice is when companies do prerecorded, listen-only calls. WMT does this. TIF does a live call, but doesn't take any questions.

Frankly, if you're man enough to be CEO, then you should be man enough to answer investor questions four times a year in a public forum. If you're not, that's a definite strike against me wanting to provide capital to your company.

Absolutely agree.

Originally Published in on 4/20/2009 12:20 PM EDT

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