The Cost of Executive Perks

Perk Hoggs on the cost of executive perks.

The problem is not the cost of the perks themselves; at a ten-billion-dollar corporation, they?re hardly even a rounding error. It?s what they are symptomatic of. Perks and rigid management hierarchies tend to go together; perks are designed in part to reinforce status divisions, and rigid hierarchies do not lend themselves to intelligent decision-making, since they isolate executives from the rest of the company. Also, C.E.O.s who indulge in perks are likely to be profligate in general with shareholder money.

There are problems in both the private and public sector. Our senators have incredible health care AND average much better investment returns than us poor taxpayers. There are plenty of examples of corporate excess. Hoggs makes some useful points. Via John Robb.

Journalism vs Advertising at the LA Times

Tribune owned LA Times recently announced layoffs, just after winning a couple of Pulitzer prizes according to this story by Jacques Steinberg.

“Look at USA Today; how many Pulitzers have they won?” Mr. Janedis added, singling out the flagship of the Gannett chain, which has yet to win one. “But they sell a lot of advertising and get good rate increases.”

The article also compares major publisher cashflow margins (from Banc of America Investment Securities):

Lee publishes the local Wisconsin State Journal and co-owns the federally sanctioned monopoly (newspaper joint operating agreement: whereby overhead and advertising are shared among two or more “competitors”): Capitol Newspapers.

Andreessen on Current Technology

Wisconsin native Marc Andreessen (now living comfortably in Silicon Valley) participated in a Washington Post online chat yesterday. Andreessen discussed the tech business, new software tools, P2P/distributing information and open source software. He also touches on John Kerry’s statements on globalization and midwest manufacturing: “it’s not coming back”. A useful read.

Versailles Restoration: Bosquet des Trois Fontaines

One of the 15 Ornamental groves in the gardens of Versailles will be reopened on June 12th.

It marks the latest in a series of American gifts to restore the great creation for Louis XIV of Andr? Le N?tre and Charles Le Brun. After the second world war John D. Rockefeller gave millions to restore the place, convinced that the chateau and its gardens were of wider than French significance. Americans then responded generously to storm damage in the 1990s, and now the American Friends of Versailles have given $4m and years of voluntary work to help French experts recreate the Bosquet des Trois Fontaines (the Three Fountains Grove).

British Gardening

The June 5, 2004 Economist reviews “A Little History of British Gardening“:

NAPOLEON called England a nation of shopkeepers: given the demise of the British high street, it would be more appropriate today to call it a nation of gardeners. The bicentenary of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) this year has spawned a green-fingered fever across a country where gardening is already a national pastime; where more than 15% of the population has a conservatory; where television gardeners are national heart-throbs; and where almost everyone has an opinion on rhododendrons