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By Dimitris N. Chorafas (auth.)

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If indeed cable was AT&T’s future, with Comcast taking AT&T’s crown jewels it was likely that some other companies would get AT&T’s low-margin leftovers and other damaged goods. In December 2002 the talk at Wall Street was that both AT&T and WorldCom (if it came out of a bankruptcy protection) would need a white knight – probably SBC. That would be the end of the venerable telephone company whose Bell Telephone Labs were once the envy of the world. 30 Management’s Responsibility Towards the Shareholders Nor were investors happy with the fact that, while AT&T’s equity was being managed in a questionable way, as documented by the beating the market gave to the company’s stock, its top executives were being paid a high premium.

The message this story carries is that big egos are self-destructive. 6 Shareholders kick out poorly performing CEOs “Re-engineering,” “downsizing,” “cutting costs,” or “chopping dead wood” describe the practice followed by companies for slimming down by eliminating middle management and rank-and-file jobs. There are even computer programs which help in doing so. 14 The $500,000 “fireware” developed by Business Layers, of Rochelle Park, NJ, dumps intended employees with a memo, closes their payroll accounts, cancels company credit cards, shuts down email, eliminates parking privileges, and locks down telephone extensions.

Another business which hurts investors are the benefits derived by those favored with initial public offerings (IPOs). As an article in BusinessWeek pointed out, Disney CEO Michael D. , and several eBay executives, including CEO Margaret C. Whitman, received “hot stocks” from Goldman Sachs. Salomon Smith Barney also funneled IPOs to Qwest Communications’ CEO Joseph P. 15 Other investment banks used profits to be obtained from IPOs as bait to get lucrative contracts for themselves. Even labor bosses joined the bandwagon.

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