Goldman board changes - are sidedeals acceptable?

Pressure by individual shareholders to effect changes in corporate governance may appear to be a good thing but it creates its own problem. The case of Goldman Sachs is a topical example. Agreeing to changes in board structure just to save the post of chairman for the CEO is not an arrangement that should point the way forward to improved corporate governance. Individual shareholders should communicate their wishes first of all to fellow shareholders and not try to get special deals from management - behind closed doors or openly. Changes to board structure should not be tailored to individual companies but should follow a general principle that is applied to all public companies. There is no point in fighting the governance war over and over again, without any reference to clear principles. This just leads to endless (and mostly futile) discussion and allows company managements to evade demands for decisive changes.

Many large M&A deals value destructive

This quote from Aswanth Damodaran underlines the need for stricter supervision of merger activity by the shareholders of both the acquiring and the acquired companies.

"There is strong evidence that many large M&A deals are value destructive for acquiring company's stockholders. While it is true the valuations from investment banks grease the wheels for these deals, it is also true that the managers of the acquiring firms are just as much to blame as investment bankers. Intent on spending stockholder money to gratify egos and build their corporate empires, these managers are less interested in honest advice from investment banks and more so in their deal-making prowess. In fact, I think that many corporations use investment banks as shields against having to take responsibility for bad decisions, with "It was not our fault, since the investment bank told us it was okay" becoming the post-failure refrain"