Monsanto Pleases Investors. Can Board take Responsibility? $MON

Applause for Monsanto (NYSE:MON) great numbers. Stock trading very close to 52 week high. Fwd PE of around 20 and a dividend yield of 1.3%. Stock has been on a steady climb for past six months in anticipation of todays type of results. Buy on rumor sell on news. Look at the board and see what responsibility they can take for the results. The company has been digging their way out of a few problems.

Average of directors is 61. Average tenure is 8 years. Which means Monsanto gets you on the board early. They currently have two people under the age of 50 and only one over the age of 70. Two women so the odds for the next few directors should tilt female. Lets look at the line up:

William Parfet 66 Chair, CEO and President of MPI Research a pre-clinical toxicology research lab. The guy is a scientist and should understand the complex formulae. But what does he add to commercialization. corporate bio does not delve into the matter.

Robert Stevens 61 Former Chair & CEO of Lockheed Martin. An arms merchant; and probably a very good one. Understands government and geo-politics which is probably closely aligned to food supply, malnutrition and discontent among the masses.

Steven Mcmillan 66. Chair of Sara Lee. Little bit busy with his own agenda. Bit down stream from Monsanto’s position in the food supply. He has the carbs and sugars to deal with. But globally gets the concerns.

Gwendolyn King 72 Senior statesman of the board. Founding partner of Directors Council a corporate board search firm. A former commissionaire of the social security administration and OMG look at this he has been on the board of Lockheed Martin. Probably the next guy to get changed out.

George Poste 68 CEO Health Technology Networks. Big background in Genomics Technology and Computing in Healthcare. Clearly the science guy in a science company. Age should not be a factor.

Arthur Harper 56 Managing Partner GenNx360 Capital Partners a PE firm focused on B2B. Formerly from the General Electric gene pool where he was the President and CEO Equipment Services.

Janice Fields 57 President McDonald’s USA. Career Hamburger fast food person. Women under 60 seems to be doing the right things.

Laura Ipsen 48 Has a lot of experience in public sector and regulatory affairs with Microsoft and previously Cisco. Another young women who is on the move. Maybe even a future CEO of Monsanto is the stars line up correctly.

David Chicoine 65. An academic and economist. This one should go soon.

Jon Moeller 48. CFO of Proctor & Gamble. A career P&G guy but probably from the finance side so he has transferable skills.  Again a young guy that Monsanto is bringing along.

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor persepctive.


Sony Case Study – When Do You Disclose Cyber Attacks $SNE #cyberattack #disclosure

Image representing Sony as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Sony (NYSE:SNE) seems to be recovering from the cyber attacks that recently crippled its on line game business. They probably are a whole lot smarter and a little poorer because of it. The financial disclosure issue is when do companies admit they are under attack and share the wonderful news with the investment community.  Sony had to say something because the entire client base was locked out. Sony was just a little on the quiet side as the attack first hit.

This is a conundrum for corporations. There is a very real stigma when cyber attacks work. Even now the Sony brand is clearly down a notch or two. But the attacks become material events in crisis mode. Companies are reacting to uncertain circumstances. They need to disclose from a position of confusion and embarrassment. They are on the backs on their heels and not forward on their toes.

The corporate governance risk will be to under disclose. Most executives are not strong IT guy’s. They will not have a deep understanding of the issues. Most investors professional and otherwise are also fairly shallow in their IT understanding. The blind will be leading the blind. The circumstance will only accentuate manic and erratic behaviour.

Corporations that disclose early will well serve their investors and stakeholders. Corporations that disclose late saying that they have been under attack for some time are the corporate governance failures. While they may be able to beat off the attack they will most certainly have unassessed damages that will bite later.

The late reporting corporations will be the scary ones who manage to shoot themselves in the foot. Executives blowing their feet off are not attractive investments.

Disclosure: George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. I hold no positions in stocks mentioned in this post. I have no plans to initiate new positions within the next 72 hours.