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Rémunération des dirigeants: de la séparation du pouvoir décisionnel et de la propriété

Publié le 30 janvier 2010 par Helenebouchard

Rémunération des dirigeants: de la séparation du pouvoir décisionnel  et de la propriétéAvec tous les scandales de la dernière décennie ( Madoff, Earl Jones, Enron, Lacroix…etc.) on peut se poser la question si ce n’est tout simplement pas une conséquence de la séparation de la direction et du pouvoir décisionnel avec la propriété de l’entreprise. Une majorité d’actionnaires ( en nombre d’individus ) détenant des actions n’ont pas de pouvoir réel dans la conduite des affaires d’une entreprise. L’entreprise est gérée par des gestionnaires de carrière et ces derniers , sont rémunérés en fonction des résultats à court terme ; un salaire de base, un boni, et des options pour acheter des actions à un prix fixe.

Henry Mintzberg , dans un article , How Productivity Killed American Entreprise, mentionne que la vue à court terme des dirigeants pour hausser la cote à la bourse des actions:

Legal Corruption But how exactly? How did these heroic leaders manage to push up those share prices so quickly? Some, as we know, simply cheated, cooking the books to make things look good. But this was the tip of the iceberg, the illegal corruption that, once revealed, could be dealt with in courts of law. Far more pervasive, and insidious, was the legal corruption underneath, which amounted to cashing in the “goodwill” that many corporations had nurtured so carefully over so many years.Accountants had trouble measuring that, so it did not count. But they could certainly measure short-term profits, much as the economists could measure productivity. So the CEOs managed this narrow kind of performance very carefully, often more carefully than they managed the business itself. The object was to con the financial analysts, or at least those people convinced by these analysts to buy the stock. So all kinds of employees were distracted making useless plans to impress outside investors.

Récemment, un article du président d’Audit Integrity,  fait la mention  de statistiques troublantes et qui devraient nous faire réfléchir. La compensation moyenne d’un exécutif des 500 entreprises du S&P était de 1,5 million en 2000 et de 3,7 millions en 2008.   On pourrait penser que cette hausse de rémunération est causée par un rendement exceptionnel des entreprises, cependant depuis 1999, la hausse du rendement des actions a été de 6,4%.  En 2008, les versements de ces mêmes corporations dans un fonds de pension ont été de 39,5 milliards contre 44,5 milliards de dollars donnés en options d’achat d’actions à la direction.

Des entreprises avec une forte rémunération des dirigeants amènent la manipulation des données pour montrer une rentabilité à court terme ou des prises de décision favorisant le bénéfice à court terme au lieu du long terme:

There is no evidence that increased compensation has a positive impact on corporate results. In fact, Audit Integrity’s studies over the last decade-plus have shown quite the opposite, particularly in regard to excessive incentive compensation. Incentive compensation as a percent of total compensation for CEOs and CFOs is a significant measure in determining the probability of a company’s poor future performance. Companies with abnormally high incentive compensation often end up as poor performers because management manipulates short-term returns to the detriment of the companies’ long-term interest. This observation is not new. In a rallying cry for a return to shareholder capitalism, in which a company’s decisions are made by the owners, rather than “managerial capitalism,” Martin Hutchinson quotes none other than Adam Smith on conflict of interest: “Economic theory is pretty clear on the advantages of shareholder capitalism, in which there is no separation between the ownership of businesses and its decision-making. The benefits of the price mechanism, in which economic actors compete with each other for advantage, have been with us since Adam Smith famously wrote, ‘It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to  their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.’ Thus selfish people acting in their own interest and controlling their own capital produce benefits for society as a whole. “However, Smith recognized that when managers were separated from capital, a very different picture emerged. ‘The directors of such companies … being the managers of other people’s money than their own, it cannot well be expected that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance … Negligence and profusion must always prevail, more or less, in the management of such a company’.’”1[4]

Mintzberg a publié , en novembre 2009 , dans le Wall Street Journal, un article sur les bonis de la direction. sa conclusion:

So, again, there is but one solution: Eliminate bonuses. Period. Pay people, including the CEO, fairly. As an executive, if you want a bonus, buy the stock, like everyone else. Bet on your company for real, personally.Actually, bonuses can serve one purpose. It has been claimed that if you don’t pay them, you don’t get the right person in the CEO chair. I believe that if you do pay bonuses, you get the wrong person in that chair. At the worst, you get a self-centered narcissist. At the best, you get someone who is willing to be singled out from everyone else by virtue of the compensation plan. Is this any way to build community within an enterprise, even to foster the very sense of enterprise that is so fundamental to economic strength? Accordingly, executive bonuses provide the perfect tool to screen candidates for the CEO job. Anyone who insists on them should be dismissed out of hand, because he or she has demonstrated an absence of the leadership attitude required for a sustainable enterprise. Of course, this might thin the roster of candidates. Good. Most need to be thinned, in order to be refilled with people who don’t allow their own needs to take precedence over those of the community they wish to lead.

Pour Mintzberg, la solution est très simple et facile d’application. Par contre on n’entend pas ce genre de discours à la radio et à la télé. Si on écoute le matin la radio, les émissions à forte cote d’écoute, il y a toujours  un expert qui parle des cotes à la bouse, de l’indice des marchés, du comportement de la bourse asiatique. La bourse va bien par rapport à hier  , donc  l’économie va bien. Cela véhicule, selon moi, l’engouement de l’aspect court terme du rendement, rien à voir avec l’investissement durable, la création d’emploi, la création de richesse.


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