National / International News

Soldier Speaks Up A Decade After Pat Tillman's Friendly-Fire Death

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 13:02

Steven Elliott, one of the Rangers who mistakenly fired on Tillman's position, says he believed there were no "friendlies" in the area when he pulled the trigger.

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Coulson 'rubber-stamped payment'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:49
Andy Coulson tells the phone-hacking trial he "rubber-stamped" a payment to a police officer despite being warned it could result in criminal charges.

Hospitals Can Speed Stroke Treatment, But It's Not Easy

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:47

The faster people get treatment after suffering a stroke, the less likely they are to be permanently disabled or die. Speeding up hospital procedures helps, studies find. But cost is an issue, too.

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VIDEO: Cable warns firms on 'ridiculous' pay

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:35
Business Secretary Vince Cable talks to BBC Business Editor Kamal Ahmed about his warning to FTSE 100 companies on executive pay

Fuel theft closes Esso pipeline

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:25
Two men are arrested after thousands of litres of diesel, believed to have been stolen from an Esso pipeline, are discovered by police.

Ukraine alert as politician 'killed'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:25
Ukraine's acting president orders the relaunch of military operations in the east after two men, one a local politician, are found allegedly tortured to death.

Online Sales Taxes Shift Consumer Behavior, Study Shows

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:16

Some states have enacted so-called Amazon taxes, forcing the giant online retailer to collect sales taxes the same way traditional stores do. In those states, Amazon's sales fell about 10 percent.

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Who's Getting Preschool Right? Researchers Point To Tulsa

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:14

A national debate over universal preschool has raised an important question: What does high-quality pre-K look like? Researchers say the preschool program in Tulsa, Okla., is among the nation's best.

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Council receives baby ashes report

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:12
Edinburgh City Council receives the report into Mortonhall Crematorium where babies remains were disposed of without their parents' knowledge.

Fast-Food CEOs Earn Supersize Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:08

A new report finds that the average compensation of fast-food CEOs has quadrupled since 2000. By comparison, worker wages have increased less than 1 percent.

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As Putin Rides Wave Of Popularity, Opposition May Get Swept Under

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:06

Russian President Vladimir Putin is using a recent surge in popularity to crack down on opposition. Several proposed laws would strengthen penalties against protestors, and officials and local media alike are denouncing criticism of Putin as "unpatriotic."

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Amid Ukraine's Faltering Hopes For Peace, Biden Speaks In Kiev

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:06

During a visit to Kiev, Vice President Joe Biden warned Russia that it must help to reduce tensions in Ukraine. A recent international agreement intended to disarm militant groups seems to be failing.

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Search Efforts For Nigerian Schoolgirls Dogged By Shifting Numbers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:06

As the search continues for the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, the exact number of those still missing is in dispute. Michelle Faul, Nigeria bureau chief for the Associated Press, explains more.

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High Court Upholds Michigan's Affirmative Action Ban

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:06

By a 6-2 vote, the Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved measure in Michigan that banned the use of race or gender in deciding admissions to the state's public universities.

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Longtime D.C. Lawyer Is White House's Next Top Counsel

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 12:06

The White House named Neil Eggleston its new top lawyer. He'll have to muster his legal and political skills to deal with a divided Congress and multiple investigations of the Obama's administration.

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UKIP's Farage promises 'earthquake'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-22 11:52
UKIP leader Nigel Farage predicts "an earthquake" in politics if his party wins the European elections.

Man Utd begin hunt but Giggs not in race

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-22 11:51
Manchester United begin their search for a successor to David Moyes but temporary boss Ryan Giggs is not under consideration to be the next full-time manager.

FDA Advisers Vote Against Approving New Opioid Painkiller

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 11:50

The developer of Moxduo says the drug, which combines morphine and oxycodone, would provide faster pain relief. But reviewers say there's not enough evidence that the combination drug is safer.

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Who Are Nepal's Sherpas?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-22 11:49

Members of this Nepalese community are renowned for their climbing skills and remarkable endurance at high altitudes. They are paid well by local standards, but it's a job fraught with risk.

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Fire a failing manager and other lessons from sports

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-22 11:40

Why can’t the corporate world be more like major league sports? When a sports team loses too much, the coach gets the boot, and gets it fast. In the past week, the Knicks fired their entire coaching staff, Manchester United sacked their manager, and the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team coach was fired too.

Far be it from us to endorse bloodlust, but why aren’t CEO's dealt this kind of fate?

1. They are, you just might not know it.

The Conference Board has done a lot of research on corporate succession, and one of their researchers, Melissa Aguilar says “the probability of a succession event is higher following poor performance.” Huh? What? Succession event? Yes, ‘succession event’ – Aguilar didn’t say ‘firing’, because “not everything that gets called a retirement is a retirement.”  You’d be surprised at how many CEO’s “retire” at a young age. Plus, coaches are more like managers, not corporate executives. And you can be sure that in the corporate world, a manager who doesn’t perform well will be shown the door.

2. A good CEO is hard to find. 

“I can tell you, I’ve managed a number of successions – it’s very hard!” in the words of Joseph Bower, who teaches at Harvard Business School.  “Companies are much more idiosyncratic than we think or as an economist would pretend - they have complex cultures, they have capabilities that tend to be unique,” and they’re made of complex arrays of humans which, as we all know, behave rather strangely in large groups. Finding the right person can be hard, and it can take a long time.

“I remember at one point the head of Johnson wax was hired by Nike because he was a good marketing executive and it was thought he could do well at Nike,” says Bower. “It turns out that marketing furniture polish is very different from marketing running shoes. That didn’t work out.” 

 3.Because a CEO isn’t a real thing.

Otherwise put, being a CEO isn’t a real thing. It’s not like being a blacksmith or a French teacher, where there’s a specific and universal skill set. You could run a company of two people selling pickles or a company of two thousand advising commodity investors – in both cases you’re a CEO. That doesn’t mean you can do both well.

4.You can’t hide the fact you lost a game. You can totally hide the fact your earnings are down.

“For a corporation, results are much more opaque,” says Smith college’s Andrew Zimbalist. “It’s not win or lose. Although corporations like to have growth and profit, there are ways to hide the lack of profits or to inflate the actual profits.” 

To be fair there are a lot of other things you can blame for bad results if you’re a CEO – the economy, GDP, China – take your pick of scapegoats real or not. 

“At a corporate level there’s more cronyism,” says Zimbalist. “You have boards of people who are CEOs themselves. It’s a social circle that’s more tight, and they are likely to be more lenient since they are in a similar situation. 

5.If Shareholders were like fans, Wall Street would be full of drunks and burnt out buildings

“It’s well known that some investors are not rational, but almost anybody would agree that very few sports fans are rational,” says Matteo Arena, who teaches finance at Marquette University. “Most fans react to poor results in a very passionate way and put a lot of pressure on teams.” That thirst for revenge and destruction is why sports teams often ditch their coaches or managers so quickly.  

6.Maybe Shareholders are like sports fans, but just slower.

A sports team can lose ten games in a month, but it takes a corporation 2.5 years to have 10 quarters of bad earnings. And CEOs usually walk shareholders through the ups and the downs, explaining what they expect to happen, which can sometimes be like talking down an angry mob.   

7.The CEO is often in charge of replacing the CEO

“In more than 50 percent of publicly traded companies in the US, the CEO is also chairman of the board,” says Matteo Arena. How easy do you think it is to replace the person in charge if that person ... is in charge of replacing the person in charge? 

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