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Temin and Co.


"Gynecologist’s Actions Bring Down USC’s President" 

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"Harassment Claims Cost Wynn Resorts its Leader" 

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"NBC News Faces Questions After Lauer Firing" 

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"Equifax Hit With Massive Reputation Breach" 

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"Fujifilm Addresses Accounting Problems" 

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"Hacked Twitter Account Gives McDonald’s Indigestion" 

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"Qualcomm Chips Away at South Korea Probe" 

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"Tyson Finds Itself in Game of Reputation Chicken" 

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"Delta Grounded After Computer Crash" 

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"Signet Confronts Diamond Debacles" 

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"NFL Goes for Knockout Against New York Times" 

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"OSI Fights Back In China" 

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"Tesla Slams the Brakes on Seat Belt Problem" 

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"United Airlines Faces Turbulence Amid Federal Probe" 

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 "Accounting Problems Hobble Toshiba" 

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 "Kiss-and-Tell Fears After Adult Friend Finder Breach" 

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"Ice Cream Recall Snags Blue Bell" 

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"Williams, NBC Between Iraq and a Hard Place" 

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"Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut" 

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"How Well Did Tesco Account for Itself?" 

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In the News-Corporate Governance

Is your board risk-ready?

Michele Wucker, Strategy + Business, March 11, 2020

Strategy Business 3-11-20

Your company's board of directors is charged with reviewing all kinds of risks to the corporation. But how well prepared are its members to do so? How ready are directors to evaluate, communicate, and act on risks — and thus to better ensure that their companies are doing a good job? A great deal rides on the answers to these questions.

Understanding the risk attitudes of directors as individuals and as a whole can make all the difference if a risk materializes into a full-blown crisis. Davia Temin, founder of the New York–based crisis management firm Temin and Company, said it's essential to understand and improve a board's risk reaction dynamics during times of calm. "It's better to fix the fissures on a board ahead of time because every fissure will explode in a crisis," she said.

She recommends boards do an annual risk survey to determine how attuned different directors are to various risks. Crisis scenario games can shed light on differences among board members in their responses to stress and risks, and help board chairs to identify ahead of time which directors they might lean on most when — not if — a crisis hits. In fact, PwC's 2019 survey found that the percentage of directors participating in crisis management tabletop exercises doubled since last year, from 28 percent to 56 percent. [ more]

Wells Fargo’s Duke Quits Before Turn in Washington Hot Seat

Hannah Levitt, Bloomberg, March 9, 2020

Bloomberg 3-9-20

Wells Fargo & Co. Chair Betsy Duke resigned from the company's board ahead of a dramatic congressional hearing set for this week, succumbing to the same political pressures that have claimed multiple former leaders of the bank.

The lender said Monday that board member Charles Noski will replace Duke as chair. Duke faced a growing chorus of calls for her departure after Democrats atop the House Financial Services Committee issued a scathing report last week on the bank's response to a series of consumer scandals.

The latest set of hearings begins Tuesday with an appearance by CEO Charlie Scharf, less than five months into his tenure. The committee will seek his thoughts on next steps for what it calls "the bank that broke America's trust."

Scharf is preparing to answer questions on what he's doing to get back in the good graces of customers, regulators and the public. He's met with nearly half the House Financial Services Committee, including Waters, since taking over in October, people with knowledge of the meetings said.

He'll be able to point to changes he's made since taking the helm, including adding new leaders and settling past probes. And he can tout the bank's recent announcements on minimum-wage increases, limited-fee bank accounts and lending to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Scharf "can come on as a hard-nosed leader who is going to do the bidding of the public and fix things," Davia Temin, founder of crisis consultancy Temin & Co., said in an interview. "America still loves a comeback kid."

The board members faced a different task, Temin said. "It's harder to be part of the problem and then the solution." [ more]

Old Board Structures ‘Won’t Work Tomorrow’

Stephanie Forshee, Agenda, December 20, 2019


Agenda's survey showed that audit committee directors have been tasked with taking the lead on cyber risks, at least according to 23.8% of survey respondents. And almost 36% of respondents feel that substantiated whistle-blower claims belong with the audit committee. Even though sexual misconduct allegations have been high-risk areas for legal recourse from shareholders, the committee of choice isn't always with audit- or risk-focused directors.

According to the quarterly survey, 42.7% of respondents said that MeToo issues don't belong to an individual committee but rather the full board. By contrast, 12.2% felt that MeToo issues don't even belong in the boardroom to begin with.

But then there are the 18% who think the comp committee should be in charge of Me Too issues. Corporate governance professionals think that as an offshoot of human capital issues, cultural concerns have increasingly been landing with the comp committee.

Davia Temin, president and CEO of Temin & Co., says that in her experience with boards, the audit and risk committee members are typically the directors who primarily oversee sexual misconduct allegations, or sometimes the complaints will go to the executive committee. "A fair amount of time, those committees will inform the whole board if the issue is important enough," Temin explains.

Temin notes that the push for boards to handle concerns of sexual harassment or misconduct is happening more frequently and is largely being driven by boards that have more women on them. "Often we find that it is women corporate directors who will champion MeToo issues being examined at the board level," Temin says.

As for comp committees' overseeing sexual misconduct claims, Temin thinks that responsibility should lie elsewhere, since executives subject to misconduct allegations aren't just having their pay docked but are often being ousted from the companies if they are found guilty. "Comp committees historically have handled the issue when penalties have not included letting executives go, but instead included the forfeiture or clawback of compensation as a penalty for sexual harassment. Today, we know that this remedy is not seen to be as viable under public scrutiny as it once was. Thus, stronger measures are usually taken."

The bottom line, in Temin's opinion, is that "what worked yesterday no longer works today, and most assuredly will not work tomorrow." [ more] (subscription required)

McDonald’s wins praise for firing its CEO but reignites scrutiny over worker complaints

Amelia Lucas, CNBC, November 06, 2019

11-6-19 CNBC

McDonald's is garnering praise after deciding to fire its chief executive for having a relationship with an employee.

But the decision is reigniting scrutiny of the company's handling of sexual harassment incidents that involve restaurant workers.

The Chicago-based company announced on Sunday that its board ousted CEO Steve Easterbrook for having a consensual relationship with an employee, a violation of the company's non-fraternization policy.

"These days, what we find is boards are more worried about reputational risk, and they're taking more action and acting more promptly," said Davia Temin, the CEO of management consultancy Temin and Company. [ more]

Temps at the top

Nancy Marshall-Genzer, Marketplace, April 23, 2019


Right now, the Trump administration has acting heads at the Defense Department, Homeland Security, the Small Business Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget. By the time you finish reading this story, there could be more. And that's just the way President Trump likes it, as he told CBS's "Face the Nation" in February.

"I like 'acting' because I can move so quickly," he said. "It gives me more flexibility."

It's the kind of flexibility that's increasingly on display in the private sector. Intel appointed Robert Swan as interim CEO last June. Last month, Wells Fargo announced that its general counsel, C. Allen Parker, would become interim CEO and president. J. Crew, Comscore and Herbalife have also brought on interim CEOs this year.

Davia Temin coaches interim executives. She says they have a tough job.

"You've got the title — almost," she said. "You've got the responsibility — almost. You are acting as if you are the CEO, but when it comes to long-term strategy and planning and action and vision and mission, you don't have that nod." [ more]


'A Tremendous Insult:' Boardroom Leaks Irk Directors

Amanda Gerut, Agenda, April 1, 2019


Leaks of information about CEO hires, potential acquisitions and boardroom deliberations about executives accused of misconduct have become an increasingly acute concern as more activists, first-time directors and directors with varying business backgrounds join boards.

The spread of confidential information about boardroom discussions is an evergreen source of disquiet among directors. But as more boards contend with messy, difficult issues about company culture, for instance, dissent and rifts can sometimes lead to directors' turning to outside sources to influence decisions. Staying abreast of group dynamics such as distinct majorities and minorities in votes, directors who feel their views aren't being heard and general board dysfunction that can breed an environment in which directors might turn to the press or social media to air their views is important in maintaining an open — but confidential — atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the issue of information seeping out before a board has decided to formally communicate remains a frustration for directors.

Most boardrooms, like a therapist's office or a confessional, are considered "sacrosanct," says Davia Temin, president and CEO of reputation, risk and crisis management firm Temin and Company. However, that confidentiality can break down in certain situations. For instance, leaks can occur when a director tries to influence a board decision and isn't successful. In frustration, a director might turn to the press to put external pressure on the board to get directors to vote a certain way. Activist investors may feel an allegiance to their firm or other outside parties, or founders could disagree with other board members and leak information to try to sway investors to their side. Confidentiality can also break down in a crisis, Temin says.

Still, "even in this world of social media and transparency, boardroom deliberations really do need to be opaque," she says. [ more]

Amazon Execs Pool Stock in Revolt Against Board

Lindsay Frost, Agenda, January 11, 2019


A group of employees at Amazon are fed up with the lack of transparency and action the e-commerce giant has taken on climate change. So they decided to pool the shares given to them as compensation to file a proposal asking the company to disclose a solid plan on how to tackle the impacts of climate change. According to The New York Times, this is the first employee-sponsored shareholder resolution filed at a tech company.

This comes as employees begin to work more closely with shareholders to drive action on environmental and social issues impacting companies and the communities in which they operate. Experts predict that more employees, particularly those in the millennial generation, will begin to use their shareholder rights to bring these issues directly to the board. Boards should open the lines of communication to company employees and consider disclosing more about environmental and social issues, sources say.

"Employees are taking their employers up on their word to have a voice at the company, which isn't just a good brand message anymore," says Davia Temin, president and CEO of crisis consulting firm Temin and Co. "I don't think this is going to go away any time soon. It's probably going to become a staple of governance issues." [ more]

Moonves Pay Punishment Caps Year of CEO Naming and Shaming

Jeff Green and Suzi Ring, Bloomberg, December 20, 2018


CBS Corp.'s decision to fire Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves and strip him of a $120 million payout caps an unprecedented year for naming-and-shaming in the corner office.

Corporate boards have been quicker to take action in 2018, now often announcing a CEO's departure at the same time the misconduct was disclosed, said Davia Temin, founder of crisis consultancy Temin & Co. in New York. In October and November of last year, there were an average of 40 days between the first accusations and a firing. That has shrunk to almost zero now, she said, citing her database. [ more]

Between Cosby and Kavanaugh -- 810 High-Profile Public Figures Accused of Sexual Harassment

T&C Press Release, PR Newswire, October 3, 2018


NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As the #MeToo movement has redefined "acceptable" conduct in every sphere of society — from the workplace to the university, from Hollywood to the Supreme Court — reputation and crisis management consultancy Temin and Company has logged 810 high-profile figures from Cosby to Kavanaugh accused of sexual harassment. This creates a comprehensive database of those accused of #MeToo-related conduct since the arrest of Bill Cosby in December 2015.

Among the 810 Temin's "#MeToo Index" has tallied are: 234 in arts and entertainment; 192 in politics and government; 159 in business; 114 in media and broadcasting; and 63 in colleges and universities. "Every sector has been affected," says Temin CEO Davia Temin, "and leaders — CEOs and board directors – are looking for insight on why, why now, and how we can address the reputational risk of toxic workplace cultures."

Weinstein was the Watershed
"We are at a pivotal moment when several aspects of the movement, and its pushback, are converging," Temin continues. "As the nation is fixated on the Kavanaugh hearings and FBI investigation, as well as Cosby's sentencing as a 'sexually violent predator,' October 5 also marks one year since the explosive revelations of Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual misconduct. Our data tells us that these revelations opened the floodgates and set off the spike in allegations around the world." Accusations averaged 6 per month between Cosby and Weinstein, and jumped to 78 in October 2017, 119 in November, and 103 in December. The average in 2018 is 42 per month. "We are seeing the public impact of these accusations in real time, and the power they have to marshal public sentiment, outcry, and action."

No One Wants to be a "#MeToo Company"
As allegations around sexual misconduct and toxic culture increasingly dominate the news cycle, the consequences for organizations have risen exponentially. An SEC filing by CBS on September 28 revealed CBS has received subpoenas from the New York County District Attorney and the NYC Commission on Human Rights, as well as a request for information from the NYS Attorney General's Office regarding allegations against Les Moonves, "CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS." "A dramatic shift is occurring in organizations everywhere, and corporate boards – especially women board members — are paying serious attention," says Temin. "No one wants to be a '#MeToo company' today."

Metrics Bolster Narrative
"Personal narrative, fueled by social media, has transformed the #MeToo movement into a powerhouse very quickly," Temin says. "But I believe it takes narrative combined with metrics — with research — to put the issue in context and fuel its next wave. One person's story on social media, even anonymous, strikes a chord with others who have experienced the same thing, sometimes perpetrated by the same individual. Victims may have felt alone before, but then recognize that they have been part of a pattern. They then post their stories, sometimes anonymously as well. Their stories attract others who do affix their names, and a powerful trajectory of truth is begun.

"But you can lie with narrative as well. We all know that. It is the wise combination of metrics, personal narrative, and pristine due process that will bring us closest to long-hidden truths that have damaged women's progress forever. That is why I started this Index."

#MeToo Index: Highlights
Compiling data of allegations around sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, workplace misconduct, and other related behavior, the continuously updated Temin #MeToo Index defines "high-profile" accusations as receiving at least seven mentions in the popular media. The database includes over 25 information fields, ranging from the accused's age, industry, date of accusation and resolution, to political party. Highlights from the Index include:

  • A steep explosion in numbers of public accusations occurred after Weinstein revelations in the New York Times – October 5, 2017:
    • June, 2017: 10
    • July, 2017: 10
    • August, 2017: 9
    • September, 2017: 11
    • October, 2017: 78
    • November, 2017: 119
    • December, 2017: 103
  • After the spike in accusations following Weinstein, the number of accusations per month has held relatively steady over the last 6 months:
    • April, 2018: 28
    • May, 2018: 39
    • June, 2018: 24
    • July, 2018: 39
    • August, 2018: 41
    • September, 2018: 35
  • Entertainment, politics, and business draw most accusations:
    • Arts & Entertainment: 234
    • Politics & Government: 192
    • Business: 159 (including 40+ in finance)
    • Media & Broadcasting: 114
    • Colleges & Universities: 63
  • Final resolutions of cases (many still pending) include:
    • 75 Arrested (Some before or after being fired)
    • 18 Deceased (3 committed suicide)
    • 146 Fired
    • 211 Resigned
    • 18 Retired
    • 53 Suspended/Are on Leave
    • 104 Lost Work (including entertainers or sports figures)/Other
    • 221 No Repercussions
  • 56 CEOs are the subject of accusations to date. 21 CEOs of public companies and 29 CEOs of private companies have had accusations revealed in the media, in addition to 6 nonprofit CEOs. In the nonprofit sphere, there are also 20 CEO-equivalents, including directors, founders, and presidents of prominent, heavily-funded national and international organizations, who have come under fire, with all 20 leaving their positions, although one was re-elected after being exonerated of the charges.
  • Accusations of sexual misconduct cross party lines fairly evenly. For those in political office accused of misconduct, the split is fairly even between Democrats and Republicans: 76 Democrats vs. 70 Republicans.
  • 97% of accused are male. Asia Argento captured media attention by being on both sides of the #MeToo debate – accuser and accused – but 787 of the 810 alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment or assault on the Temin #MeToo Index are male.
  • The time between accusation to resolution has been growing shorter. As #MeToo begins to be seen as a real reputational risk, organizations are paying attention to and acting on complaints more quickly. Some are even announcing the resolution of a complaint at the same time they announce the accusation.

And, separately, in the business sphere:

  • M&A deal risk: Financial impact in the M&A space came with the arrival of the "Weinstein clause" in mid-summer '18, mandating additional due diligence of executive conduct in target companies and allowing acquiring firms to pull out if they found something they didn't like.
  • Asset management flight: Investors are seeing firms with sexual harassment complaints as an investment risk; some portfolio managers are staying away and others are questioning company management about their workplace culture issues and how they are dealing with sexual misconduct.
  • Corporate investigations into company culture: "The best organizations are conducting deep dives into their corporate culture to better understand how sexual harassment is tolerated, and the dynamics at play in their workplace. Boards themselves are also more involved in addressing cultural insufficiencies in their companies than ever before – a role that used to belong almost exclusively to management and HR."

"We are at the tip of the iceberg as more and more organizations continue or begin investigations into their cultures in general and #MeToo incidents in specific," says Temin. "More incidents will come to light. Different sectors are reacting on different timelines, and with different levels of seriousness, but this is a movement toward fairness and safety that will not be stopped. It is inexorable.

"Organizations seeking to create cultures not only of safety, compliance and security, but of mentorship, innovation, purpose, and excellence, are demanding zero tolerance for this kind of misconduct and are demonstrating greater willingness to mete out consequences when required."

California to Mandate Gender Diversity in the Boardroom

Sonny Santistevan, CyberVista, September 11, 2018


California legislators have recently passed a bill that would mandate publicly-traded companies that are headquartered in California appoint one woman (at a minimum) on their board by the end of 2019. Boards with five or more directors will need to have at least two or three women by the end of 2021, contingent on the size of the board. Although California Governor Jerry Brown has yet to sign the bill, if he does, non-compliant companies will have to face financial penalties if they don't adhere to the legislative mandate.

"There are many roads to Mecca and many ways we can accomplish strong, wise, smart, and diverse boards" said Davia Temin, President and CEO of Temin and Company. "On a principal level, I'm not very much for quotas. However, I think that the law is going along with the drumbeat of interest in getting more women on boards. I think it would happen regardless whether there is a law or not because I think the momentum is there, but I do think this is going to hurry it along."

When asked if the legislation would test the pipeline of potential qualified female candidates, Temin seemed less concerned. "I do think there is a great pipeline for women directors – and a full pipeline for women directors that exist already, so I think that should this law be on the books, they will find some great people to populate the director ranks." [ more]

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