CEO: The Most Secure Job In The World

by: Dana Blankenhorn

If a baseball manager has a losing record after four years, or lies about their resume, they are usually an ex-manager.

If a football coach gets into a big scandal their boss, the University President, may get bounced out as well. Or it could just be their management style.

Even powerful politicians may be recalled by the people after they do what they promise.

The point here is that the hardest job to be fired from, in the world, may be CEO.

What does a CEO have to do to get fired around here?

  • Run a hedge fund on the side and allegedly borrow $1.1 billion against company assets, as reported by Reuters? (NYSE:CHK) Apparently not.

  • Lie about your qualifications throughout your career? (NASDAQ:YHOO) Not yet.

  • Bribe a foreign government in violation of American law and cover it up? (NYSE:WMT) No indeedy.

  • Tap phones and deny knowledge under oath? (NASDAQ:NWS) Of course not.

Despite the fact that being a CEO is the best job in the world, it's also about the hardest job in the world to get fired from.

The reason is compliant boards. And the ability of CEOs to pack them with loyalists. It's practically North Korean!

Yahoo offers a good example. As soon as Scott Thompson got hired as CEO in January, he engineered the replacement of four board members with loyalists. Makes it hard for them to then turn around and fire him, doesn't it?

Wherever you find a CEO scandal, you're going to find a board made up of the CEO's cronies. And has any board found itself heading to prison for the crimes of the CEO they hired? I'm still waiting.

If CEOs and boards are going to demand absolute allegiance from investors and the voters for what they want, shouldn't they at least be made to take responsibility for the mistakes that get everyone else fired?

I know. Investors can vote with their wallets. They can take their money out at the first hint of scandal. But that leaves corporate assets available to be stripped bare by rogue boards and CEOs. It's a Pontius Pilate solution - washing your hands of the problem.

Readers of Seeking Alpha are, by and large, big supporters of CEO pay, CEO perks, the rights of boards, even the power to set dual classes of stock to protect the founders from losing control (NASDAQ:GOOG) like, ever.

In most shareholder revolts, those with pitchforks are locked out at the castle gates , and the board members become French Taunters.

I'm 100% pro-capitalism. But I oppose feudalism. On today's Wall Street that practically makes me a socialist.

What do you think should be done? And what will it take to see that happen?

Disclosure: I am long GOOG.