Corporate Makeover

Harvey H. Segal, Author Viking Books $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-670-82099-3
Like an Arctic trader's tinned kippers that are ``not for eatin' but for buyin' and sellin,' '' American corporations have become pawns in a hot takeover-buyout-selloff game. This game, enriching investment bankers and autonomous management teams to the detriment of production, operations, inventiveness and progress, is only the beginning, according to economist Segal, of a vast ``makeover'' of the U.S. economy. In his penetrating study, Segal examines the nature of the corporation, its vulnerability to junkbond-financed assault and the significance of indirect corporate power being amassed by institutional investors (controlling pension plans, insurance reserves, mutual funds) who now own half of all corporate shares. Eventually, argues the author, major firms will be ``tightly run'' by a few top owner-managers, rather than by hired hands operating at will. Other trenchant bits: well-paid ``outside'' directors do little to protect shareholder interests; Japan and the U.S. complement each other economically (so why squabble?); the current nearly exclusive corporate hiring of Ivy League MBAs stunts creative management thinking. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-14-010759-3
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