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The disappearance of P & O is a milestone in business organisation – it symbolises the arrival of capitalism without capital
The tunnel under the English Channel failed to fire public imagination. After years of debt refinancing and changes in management, the central problem remains that no one really owns the tunnel project. Now, the debt has wandered into the hands of hedge funds, whose principal interest is not close and efficient transport links between Britain and the rest of Europe.
Because no rule or code can define the character of a non-executive, even boards compliant with every code and regulation will range from the effective to the useless. Shareholders should keep an eye on excessive remuneration and vainglorious acquisitions, and intervene in issues of management succession when it appears that non-executive directors have become too close to the company to do a proper job.
The problem of the European pension gap cannot be tackled by the kind of financial engineering proposed by the European Financial Services Round Table. This is not the moment in history to argue that private pension funding is necessarily superior to state provision.