corporate America

UNC's interim President in hot water over conflicts of interest

You can't serve five masters:

William Roper, the current interim president of the University of North Carolina system and former longtime CEO of the UNC Health Care System, failed to disclose his seats on the boards of major corporations between 2011 and 2019, at the same time as those corporations did business with the state, records show.

None of his corporate board service was disclosed on state ethics forms until last week, when Roper filed amended forms in response to an inquiry from WBTV for this story.

James and I discussed some of these issues on our radio program nine years ago, and finding these potentially unethical connections (or overlaps) is not always easy. Google searches often drill down into corporate press releases, but the names of board members rarely show up in those broad searches. By the same token, when searching an individual, you may not see their corporate affiliation until you get to page 7 of the search. And you can forget LinkedIn, because that is almost exclusively information provided by the member, and if he/she doesn't want a connection to be made, well. Anyway, back to this story, and the dueling salaries involved:

Those burdensome regulations

"We have got to get rid of these burdensome regulations!" screams the NC GOP.

And they've already repealed lots of regulations that kept people safe and the environment protected.

Their corporate overlords don't like anything that gets in the way of unfettered profits, especially regulations that require basic fairness, ethical behavior and human decency.

Are employee-owned companies the wave of the future?

The Magic 8-Ball sez, "If we're smart they will be."

In addition to enhancing employee recruitment, a Harvard Business School study shows that employee-owned companies increase production and profitability while contributing to employees’ dedication and sense of ownership. “From top management to the front lines, the participants in employee-owned companies are partners in enterprise, sharing a single agenda and common goals … employees both learn and drive the business disciplines to help their company do well.”

Another study of ESOP companies during the recession showed they performed better financially than non-ESOP firms, paid their workers higher wages, contributed more to their employees’ retirement, and hired more overall workers.

Data- and performance-driven profit sharing models have long shown that companies who imbue their employees with a sense of ownership out-perform those who don't, so it's no big surprise that employee-owned businesses would be successful. But the longer we allow Citizens United to stand, the more likely bought-and-paid-for politicians will try to legislate this business model out of existence. Why? Because employee-owned companies are much less likely to dedicate a large amount of resources to partisan campaign efforts.

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