Tyson Foods Chief Financial Officer John R. Tyson ended up in a strange place recently. He was asleep in a house that was not his. Reportedly, he was so drunk he was barely responsive when the police arrived. It is hard to walk into a random stranger’s house and find a bed. At most companies, it would be harder to keep one’s job.
However, John R. Tyson’s father is John H. Tyson, current board chair and past chief executive officer of the public corporation. He has shielded John R. Tyson from investor complaints about an alleged wandering drunk. At a company controlled by the Tyson family, John R. Tyson may someday become CEO. Instead, he should lose his job, and its board should show investors they cannot be entirely bullied by the founding family.
John R. Tyson pled not guilty to the charges. Experts believe this could keep him out of jail and avoid a felony conviction. According to The Wall Street Journal, his lawyers have gained time to negotiate with prosecutors. What is there to argue about? The action makes the prosecutors appear weak.
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Investors are rightly concerned about public corporations controlled by one family or person. Among these are the New York Times, Ford and Meta Platforms (owner of Facebook). Poor decisions have no consequences. Bad management is rewarded as family members continue to get high compensation.
The one criticism of the shareholders in these companies is that they should know better. They buy the stocks with the understanding management can dodge poor decisions and worst performance. Their only appeal is to decency. The Tyson family has decided it won’t even give shareholders that.
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