Peut-on vraiment éviter les conflits d’intérêts dans la gouvernance des organisations ?


Ici, l’article choisi, dans la foulée du billet précédent, traite des nombreux conflits d’intérêts auxquels sont confrontés les membres de conseils d’administration et, surtout, les directions des entreprises. Richard Leblanc, dans un article récemment paru dans Canadian Business, livre certains témoignages tirés de son expérience comme conseiller aviseur auprès de corporations canadiennes. Cette discussion sur les situations de conflits d’intérêts est très intéressante; il appert que la haute direction et les administrateurs ne sont pas immunisés contre les conflits d’intérêts lorsque leurs décisions impliquent des pertes financières personnelles. Comment pallier à ces problèmes éthiques potentiels ? Richard Leblanc avance l’idée que le « parachutes doré », lorsqu’il est adéquatement utilisé, peut constituer un moyen efficace d’atténuation ! Voici un extrait de l’article sur ce point :

« There is, however, a mechanism in place to address management’s tendency to act out of self-interest, known as the “golden parachute.” This means that unvested equity can vest immediately if there is a change in ownership and the manager loses his or her job (known as a ‘double trigger,’ the company is taken over and you are dismissed). The rationale for the parachute is to discourage the management team from resisting the takeover on the grounds of self-interest and instead act in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. Essentially, a manager can “cash out.” This makes far more sense to shareholders, providing of course the parachute is reasonable, as management can move on, save face, and a new management team who can run the company better is put in place. Why are directors different? »

Business Portrait FFX © no.0266
Business Portrait FFX © no.0266 (Photo credit: florbelas fotographix)

Do directors need golden parachutes?

« There is no reason to believe that directors are immune from acting out of self-interest. The bigger governance question is where is the dividing line between “best interests of the company”—which is an inherently ambiguous concept, and with which directors must comply—and “self-interest”? And how do you know which is which? An example might be moving away from dual class shares or a related party transaction. A personal financial benefit to a director not equally shared by all shareholders should be disqualifying. This dividing line is very important when interests become skewed, especially during a change in control or when responding to a shareholder activist ».