Lesson #1- Follow the money- or the lack thereof…

The single most important piece of advice I ever learned was this: Follow the money.

Follow the money. See where it goes, or doesn’t go occasionally. Let’s look at the case of Canwest Global, who recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

How much of a bonus would you expect if you  ran a  company into the ground?  Nothing, most likely. Most people don’t get bonuses for screwing up. That’s why I think it is so appalling that despite this bankruptcy filing, Canwest executives will be still be getting, approximately $ 9.8 million in bonuses, distributed to three management directors, four key executives, and thirteen other key employees!

” What?”, you say. You heard that right. Let’s just make that very clear:

The overall justification for the “KERP” itself seems to imply that the loyalty of senior managers is simply a case of money. “The three Senior Management KERP Participants are seasoned executives in corporate and banking affairs, together with the broadcasting and publishing industries. It is likely that the Senior Management KERP Participants will consider other employment options if the Senior Management KERPS are not granted and secured by the KERP Charge.”

In other words, the three management directors, four key executives and 13 other key employees require bonuses ranging from 50% to 150% of their already very high base salaries to remain with Canwest. Twenty employees will share bonuses worth just under $10 million, plus their regular big pay cheques, to keep them working at their jobs.

Incredibly, these types of bonuses for executives are a “normal” part of the CCAA process, just as workers losing their promised severance payments or retirees having their pensions cut are also nothing out of the ordinary.

Phew, stinks to high heaven, does it not? Same rationale as VANOC and the hefty bonuses they are handing out to get people to stick around until the end. Pensioners getting stiffed and facing lengthy court battles,while other employees walking away with nothing in some cases, yet the people who ran the bloody company into this mess laugh all the way to the bank.

But wait, it gets even worse. While those fat cat execs and big,(self) important people are ensconced  deep within supple leather chairs in a  private club somewhere,swilling fine scotch and laughing at the irony of it all, the  vast majority of their small investors are going to get stiffed as well. The creditor list was released and there are pages upon pages of investors – many of whom are small businesses and amazingly enough, non-profit organizations. Apparently, everyone and their dogs invested in Canwest at some point, even the good old CBC. Hey, did we authorize that ?

Check it out HERE to see the who’s who list of creditors.