Nominate Your Dog to the Boardroom

February 18, 2008

If the boards of Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Société Générale, Countrywide and UBS were comprised entirely of Irish setters and beagles, it is doubtful that the subprime-plagued results of recent months could have been any worse.

Some of the senior staff of Finlay ON Governance have suggested that I might have given the wrong impression about Irish setters being rather high maintenance and posing some challenges during puppyhood. My comments were made while applauding the breakthrough of Uno, the first beagle to win the top spot in the 132-year history of the Westminster Dog Show.We’re not the only former beagle owners who were impressed with the win. CBS’s Face the Nation host, Bob Schieffer, also got a chuckle out of it while praising his previous three hounds.The connection between between good, reliable people who project a strong moral compass, like Bob Schieffer and my late grandfather, and the beagle breed, is interesting. Perhaps it’s an encouraging sign that more of the world is starting to appreciate the beagle, too.It is correctly pointed out by certain on site advisors to these pages, however, that Muldoon Dewitts Great One (Piper), Westminster’s Irish setter best in breed for 2008, is a cousin of my Springtime Treat (Holly, pictured above). They share some of the same illustrious ancestry. Holly is the great-granddaughter of Impresario, who was Best in Show, American and Canadian Champion, 1987. Piper is Impresario’s great-great grandson.Staff, who are renowned for their persistence especially during pre-set times for walking, further wish it to be noted that no Irish setter has been complicit in any of the subprime/credit shenanigans that have produced record losses in several of the world’s top banks and appear to be driving the economy into recession. Nor has any Irish setter, or any other dog for that matter, been part of a board which awarded tens of millions in compensation to CEOs who led their companies so deep into the red that they must now turn to the sovereign wealth funds of despotic regimes to bail them out. They conclude that if the boards of Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Société Générale, Countrywide and UBS were comprised entirely of Irish setters and beagles, it is doubtful that the subprime-plagued results of recent months could have been any worse.There may be some merit to this position. Most dogs don’t possess the qualities associated with the typical director. Canines seldom sleep during times of crisis and are generally curious about what’s happening around them. Most would never lose $7 billion and, if they did, would quickly know exactly where to retrieve it. The loyalty of a well-bred dog is always toward its master and family.The loyalty and good judgment of directors tends to be somewhat more problematic.

Previous post:

Next post: