Boards and Shareholders [Link]

May 13, 2014 by Gabe | [mmd] | ℳ↫

Derek Lowe points our attention to a Financial Times article about Pfizer and AstraZeneca:

The prevailing wisdom in the Anglo-Saxon world over the past 35 years has been that boards should simply respond to what they perceive their shareholders’ wishes to be. But this is incorrect.

Directors have wider responsibilities on which they should reflect before making any recommendation about a company’s future. Legally, their duties under the Companies Act are not simply to snap to attention when shareholders whistle. They are to advance the interest of the business as a whole over the long term.

I think Apple presents a good example of a board thinking long term and mostly ignoring shareholders. My personal opinion is that acquisitions, like Pfizer is known for, do not make a company more innovative or competitive in any meaningful way. Many shareholders are vampires willing to suck the life out of one business and move on to the next. It's a net loss to society and healthcare.