Many CEO’s Pursue the Four Ps – Pay, Power, Perks and Prestige Rather than Profits

Many chief executives pursue the four Ps – pay, power, perks and prestige rather
than profits for the company.

Recently, there are more and more CEOs falling from grace. In the United States, forced
exits accounted for 39% of CEO departures in 2002 up from 25 % in 2001, according to
Booz Allen Hamilton. In 2002, Enron Chairman Ken Lay, Tyco chief Dennis
Kozlowski, Qwest’s Joe Nacchio, Worldcom’s Bernie Ebbers. Year 2003 saw the
departure of CEOs from Raytheon, Kmart, Spiegel, Scherling Plough, Motorola, Freddie
Mac, Boeing, American, etc.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) in 13 April 2004 reported that Professor David Yermack of
New York University Stern School of Business found that the average shareholder gains
underperformed market benchmarks at companies where the chief flies by luxurious
corporate jets. In the study, “Flights of Fancy: Corporate Jets, CEO Perquisites and
Inferior Shareholder Returns”, Professor Yermack said: “The central result of this study
is that CEO’s personal use of company aircraft is associated with severe and significant
under-performance of their employers’ stock….Firms’ stock prices drop an average of 2
percent around the date of initial disclosure of corporate plane use.”

Some of the CEOs may not be justifiably fired as the economy turns bad through no
faults of theirs’ but they were held accountable. However, the days of fat cats running
corporations are over.

Uncontrolled and unnecessary costs destroy businesses. If your competitor has a limo and
you do not, you are already winning. He has a leaky bucket. There are six self-made
multi-billionaires. And all of them were paragons of simplicity and prudence in self-aggrandisement.

In 1991, Sam Walton founder of Wal-Mart drove an eight-year-old red Ford pickup. He
always fetched his own coffee. As President of EDS, Ross Perot paid himself $70,000 a
year. However, when Perot sold EDS to General Motors, the President of General
Motors, Perot’s new boss, made $2.4 million salary plus a bonus. Finally, he paid Perot
$2.5 billion to go away because GM executives were embarrassed by the folksy Perot,
who did not demand a fat salary or swanky office or specially tuned cars. David Packard
never had an enclosed office before he left Hewlett-Packard for government service. Bill
Gates of Microsoft often rode coach on planes, until they finally got so big they ran their
own fleet of aircraft. Warren Buffet manages Berkshire Hathaway’s billions and billions
with a staff of 24. When they lunch together, it is McDonald’s. Warren still stayed in the
same house that he bought thirty years ago and drew on a salary of US 100,000 per
annum. Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea takes the company bus to his stores.

Indeed examples of executive abuses dominated the news during 2002. Many Enron
employees were fired whilst Senior Executives used $200,000 to fund its luxury box at
the formerly named Enron Field. Though founded on the innovative idea of instant
photography, Polaroid’s management failed to save the company from the shift to digital
cameras. Polaroid reportedly cancelled health-care benefits for the company’s retirees in
the wake of its Chapter 11 filing. However, management reportedly petitioned the
bankruptcy court for permission to dole out roughly $19 million in bonuses to keep key
executives from leaving. Webvan is another example. It failed to compete against the
traditional supermarkets with its online shopping services and home delivery. Before it
ceased operations, the company reportedly agreed to pay its resigning CEO, George
Shaheen, $375,000 per year for life although the Webvan’s stock price plunged 99
percent during his tenure.

Kmart in bankruptcy authorised payments of $362,000 per month in retirement benefits
to some 242 of its executives. The Kmart’s creditors which K mart owed $6 billion
protested to a Chicago bankruptcy judge.

L A Times writer John Balzar observed that creditors and shareholders are not the only
ones enraged at the seemingly arrogant attitudes of America’s corporate giants.
“Consumers are mad, and some are declaring petty war against the mighty corporation,
against shenanigans, the double-dealing, the get-rich-quick schemes, the fraud, the selfserving
deals.” Those investors felt that they have been robbed as they saw their
retirement savings dwindled.

In America, CEOs compensation surged 1000% in three decades, making it to 500 times
the pay of the average worker. Yet, they are greedy for more. Martha Stewart of the
ImClone System expensed off the US 17,000 cost of a holiday to her company. Dennis
Kozlowski spent US$15,000 on a “dog umbrella stand” and US$6000 on shower curtain.
John Rigas spent US $20,000 of Adelphia’s shareholders’ funds on a Christmas tree. The
list of corporate excesses goes on and on.

CEOs who live “fat cat” lifestyles using corporate funds should be slaughtered and
skinned.

Beat the Competition With a Bit of Prestige Chauffeur Hire

Ever felt like everyone else was making a slightly better impression? That other business, perhaps, had just the tiniest edge over one’s own when it came to impressing clients, giving off that right feel for an occasion? Feel that way no more. There’s a new type of chauffeur service in town, and it’s making all the other options look a little pedestrian. Prestige chauffeur hire, the ultimate in customer facing style – where every last detail can be specified and each driver is a sort of combination fixer, friend and butler. It’ll have all the rivals in town gnashing their teeth in no time.

So – what is it? Simply put, it’s the best of the best: a kind of five star treatment equivalent for meeting and greeting, shipping between social occasions, and so on. Where other chauffeur hire provides, at best, a great car and a competent driver, prestige chauffeur hire supplies a complete roster of customer-chosen attributes that add up to a totally bespoke chauffeuring package. Choose at will, specifying colour, age, interior decoration and the appointments included for passenger comfort. Power points, a bar, Internet connections – whatever is required to make the impression of this or any other century.

How about chauffeur livery? Most chauffeur hire companies will provide a standard company livery for their drivers, which of course make the subtle point to one’s guest that one is only borrowing this service in order to make the right impression. The way to really make a good impression is to have one’s drivers attired in a livery that matches one’s own company colours, or blends stylishly with the interior of the car. Prestige chauffeur hire allows every detail of the driver’s uniform to be specified minutely, ensuring that the impression one actually gives is the impression one thought one would.

The look of the driver, if one is going for all out wow factor, is not enough. Not even combined with the best car on earth. No – what really makes a great chauffeur hire is the whole “feel” of the driver – his or her attitude, attributes, and skills. A prestige chauffeur will do a lot more than simply drive. He or she will be discreet, polite and knowledgeable, making the experience of a passenger in a prestige chauffeur hire car akin to that of flying first class, or staying in the finest hotels. Furthermore, prestige chauffeurs are also trained to act as temporary PA, arranging evenings out, entertainment, hotel bookings and so on. In effect, the driver in a prestige chauffeuring situation becomes servant, confidant, fixer and facilitator – allowing one’s company, which has ostensibly provided both car and driver, to appear top of the class in every respect.

Appearances are just as important now as they ever were. Those special clients require that something extra be done for them, in order that they may feel special and continue patronising one’s business. Prestige chauffeur hire is just the way to go about it.

Why Promotional Pens Are the Best Business Gifts – Top 10 Reasons

With so many promotional gifts to choose from, it is usually a consumer’s nightmare in choosing an appropriate medium to display their advertising message. Having worked within the promotional merchandise business for the last thirty years, manufacturing and printing mousemats, coasters, keyrings, magnetics, stickers etc. I can honestly say that nothing approaches the value-for-money and advertising power that printed promotional pens can offer. Of course I am biased, but after all this time, I am still passionate about this humblest of promotional products and these are my top-ten reasons.

  1. Price. Giveaways can be a good investment if they work but as it is not always very easy to quantify the viability or effectiveness of an advertising campaign it is prudent to set yourself a conservative budget. This is one of the main strengths of promotional pens because their relatively low price, compared to other forms of promotional merchandise means your outlay, and consequently your risk, will be minimal.
  2. Acceptability. Promotional pens are acceptable in equal-measure to men, women and children of nearly all ages. In other words they appeal to almost everyone. This level of acceptability is not mirrored by any other promotional product in its price range.
  3. Functionality: Sometimes we forget that even the cheapest printed pen is a functional writing instrument that is intended for use day after day. As such, it is unique amongst promotional gifts, where the norm is one-off or at best, very occasional use.
  4. Exposure: The inherent functionality of promotional pens ensures its popularity amongst recipients and as a consequence maximum exposure for your corporate message is guaranteed throughout its working life. Contrast this with the exposure that most of the other promotional items can achieve and it is clear that it holds a unique position within the promotional merchandise industry.
  5. Visibility: No other promotional product is intended to be used at a more personal level than your promotional pen. It is an arms-length companion wherever the recipient wishes to takes it.
  6. Diversity: Not only do promotional pens carry your powerful printed advertisement for all to see every day but by careful selection of the materials they are made from you can also convey a more subliminal message to the intended recipient. By choosing any one of the biodegradable, recycled, or FSC certified wooden promotional pens you are also demonstrating your stance on the environment. Choose from the BiofreeTM range with it pathogen neutralising additives and you will be seen to not only be promoting your company’s brand but you will also demonstrate your approach to healthy living. No other promotional product is available in this range of unique materials – at any price.
  7. Universality: Whether you want promotional giveaways for paying guests in hotel rooms or a fine writing instrument for those prestige awards the choice is limitless. There is a promotional pen with a perceived prestige value available at all levels – you just have to think of the application, the impression you want to create and then make your selection from the vast range available in the market.
  8. Finishes: What other promotional gift is made in such a variety of materials and finishes? Wood, metal, plastic, stone, ivory, corn starch to name but a few. Combine this with the range of finishes available such as frosted, electroplated, enamelled, leatherette, polished and wood grain and you have an almost limitless amount of permutations to suit your application.
  9. Print: Virtually all the standard methods for decoration can be used on promotional pens. High volume screen printing for plastic pens, pad printing on compound shapes, full colour 360 degree wrap around and engraving on those prestige metal or wooden pens. The choice is yours to suit the budget and the image you wish to create.
  10. Presentation: From bulk packed to individually wrapped and boxed there is a level of presentation available that is suitable for every application or impression that you wish to create.

I believe that no other category of promotional gift provides the level of choice that promotional pens can offer. They are not only incredibly diverse, they are also timeless and without equal. Thank you for reading this article, I hope you have enjoyed its content and are as inspired as I am about the marketing potential of promotional pens.