Going Up? Governance in Crony Companies

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One much-discussed indication of a firm’s good governance is hiring and promotions free of nepotism[i], cronyism or any other form of favouritism. Yet, despite the growing importance stakeholders attach to the ‘G’ in ‘ESG’, many organisations, both public and private, struggle to change their ways. Evidence remains of advancement based on family, nationality, language, politics, religion, alma mater and, of course, gender and ethnicity.

The consequences of unfair patronage for the subsequent performance of the patron and their protégés are varied, and (annoyingly) not always negative. However, the impact on everyone else in the organisation, is unambiguously bad.

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Euphemism at the Dorchester

Last week I was invited to dinner at China Tang, the restaurant located in the basement of the Dorchester Hotel in London´s Mayfair. To go in, one has to negotiate the hotel’s famous Promenade Bar. It was a Friday evening, so every one of the bar’s plump sofas overflowed with guests and the jazz trio was in full syncopation. My host and I had to squeeze up against a wall to make way for a rather corpulent middle-aged businessman coming from the opposite direction. With his arms, he ushered two attractive young women. Thanks to ridiculously high heels, they towered above him, and both wore blushingly short mini-skirts. Continue reading