Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Milk of Human Kindness?

People, often it seems to me, wonder why standards seem to be slipping. We question our politicians honesty and carp on about them fiddling their expenses. We wonder why people seem to think it’s fine to cheat at any and every level and then there’s the ethics of business. Take the milk producers Robert Wiseman. It’s been announced that directors of the East Kilbride company have earned major bonuses despite admitting being involved in price fixing for which the company was fined £6 million. Apparently the company's remuneration committee ignored the fine when awarding bonuses to senor executives for the simple reason that the incentive plan was designed to reflect "long-term, sustainable growth" in earnings per share…..DUH!

It means the chief executive, Robert Wiseman, received a bonus of £360,000, three quarters of the available bonus under the scheme. He earned £874,000, up from £780,000 the previous year. Three other executive directors received bonuses of between £127,000 and £146,000. A further 28 unnamed executives received bonuses averaging 39 per cent of their basic salary.

So in short this company indulged in fixing prices, which presumably meant that we paid more for their products and now they’re being rewarded for ripping us off. In corporate speak this translates as "The committee's view, therefore, was that a one-off exceptional charge of the magnitude of the OFT fine should not influence the principles and operation of these arrangements."

Is it any wonder we’re in deep doo doo as a society?