Views on improving the integrity of global capital markets
20 December 2011

Vote Early, Vote Often: Mark Your Ballot for the Worst in Disclosure for 2011

One of the joys of the year end is sifting through the interminable “best of/ worst of” wrap-ups found in seemingly every print or web publication. Whether you love or loathe this end-of-year tradition, we have a treat for you. Mosey on over to the blog footnoted.com, which diligently sifts through the minutia of company filings to find the things in corporate SEC filings that companies try to bury deep within the footnotes.

Footnoted.com is currently running its annual “Worst Footnote of the Year” contest, in which they allow readers to choose the worst footnote from the past year. Visit the blog and cast your vote. (No word yet on what prize the winner will receive). For your reading pleasure, here’s a rundown of footnoted.com’s nominee list:

  • MF Global (old ticker: MF) agreeing to pay then-CEO Jon Corzine a $1.5 million retention bonus months before the company imploded
  • Clear Channel Media Holdings (CCMO) paying $3 million a year to a company controlled by Bob Pittman so that Pittman can fly in a Mystere Falcon 900 that Pittman owns for both business and personal use
  • Leo Apotheker collecting around $25 million in severance and other benefits, including relocation back to France or Belgium, after less than a year on the job
  • IBM’s outgoing CEO Samuel Palmisano becoming eligible for as much as $170 million in retirement benefits, just by waiting until he was past 60 to announce his retirement
  • Nabors Industries agreeing to pay outgoing CEO Eugene Isenberg $100 million in severance on his way out the door

In the meantime, we advise compensation committees to consult our CD&A Template for tips on keeping the disclosure short and sweet and telling compensation stories in plain English — and avoiding  the footnoted.com list next year.

About the Author(s)
Matt Orsagh, CFA, CIPM

Matt Orsagh, CFA, CIPM, is a senior director of capital markets policy at CFA Institute, where he focuses on corporate governance, ESG, and climate change analysis. He writes and speaks frequently on these topics on behalf of CFA Institute. His paper, Climate Change Analysis in the Investment Process was named “Best ESG Paper” by Savvy Investor in 2021.

1 thought on “Vote Early, Vote Often: Mark Your Ballot for the Worst in Disclosure for 2011”

  1. Isidro says:

    Hello administrator, I just wanted to give you a brief heads up that
    your current Link: http://blogs.cfainstitute.

    org/marketintegrity/2011/12/20/vote-early-vote-often-mark-your-ballot-for-the-worst-in-disclosure-for-2011/ is being flagged as a possibly malicious web page in my browser safari.
    I would highly recommend having somebody look into it.
    You could very well lose a lot of website visitors due to this kind of issue.
    Best of Luck.

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