"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

Oct 09, 2011
Is any leader serious about honouring Wangari Maathai?

Wangari Maathai deservedly got a state funeral, the first ever for a woman in these parts. She warranted it, for rarely has a Kenyan received such global acclaim. But here’s the thing: once the funeral is over, and we have stopped shedding the requisite tears, how are we going to honour her memory? The fact […]

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Oct 03, 2011
Ugly boardroom battles are killing great companies

“Really, Hewlett-Packard? This is what’s become of the company of Bill and Dave — not just the founders of HP, but the founding fathers of Silicon Valley? Three CEOs in six years. Two of those CEOs who embarrassed themselves with inept campaigns for elective office. The other CEO who managed to get tossed out of […]

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Sep 18, 2011
Leadership is about preventing disasters, not reacting to them

I am so very tired of writing about disasters. And I am sure you are so very tired of reading about them. It was a bad week. First a ferry sank off Zanzibar. Several hundred people, including little children, were thrown into the sea. More than two hundred are believed to have died. Next, fuel […]

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Sep 04, 2011
Lessons in traffic management from a small island

I was fortunate enough to sit atop the Singapore Flyer recently – the world’s biggest observation wheel. At its apex, the Flyer is as high as a 42-storey building, and offers unparalleled views of the famous Singapore skyline, its busy port – even of neighbouring Indonesia, across the water. Being a Peculiar Kenyan, however, I […]

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Aug 14, 2011
Another famine caused by people, not nature

I have been trying to avoid mentioning our current famine, as I thought I had written all I could about famines in the past. Clearly not, though, judging by the actions and utterances of those who ought to know better. Seven years ago, I wrote some articles on this page about famines and the right […]

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Aug 08, 2011
The very subtle job of leading the board

“Today, greater professionalism is expected of a Chairman. S/he must possess a range of ‘soft skills’ and have the ability to coach new board members (especially executive directors); handle debates with skill; tease out concerns; orchestrate and unite an often disparate group; recruit the right people; and effect behavioural change where necessary. The chairman needs […]

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Aug 01, 2011
Long-serving CEOs, learn from the fall of Arab dictators

“Some CEOs of long tenure must have gotten a slightly queasy feeling as they watched the recent events in the Arab world. Even if they bear no resemblance at all to Hosni Mubarak or Muammar Qaddafi—even if they are the most competent and benevolent of leaders—they may well feel horror at how rapidly the fortunes […]

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Jul 25, 2011
When the founder becomes the problem in the business

“In the US they call it the “Murdoch discount”. This is the amount by which US analysts reckon shares in News Corporation are depressed because of the controlling stake held by the Murdoch family; about 40 per cent of the B voting shares, although only 13 per cent of the share capital. Analysts never like […]

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Jun 27, 2011
A golden rule to help you evaluate the worth of your policies

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups” HENRY HAZLITT Economics in One Lesson (1946) When I was a young lad barely into […]

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Jun 26, 2011
No, Kenyans, don’t be numb to these outrages

Whatever became of moral outrage in Kenya? “Nothing changes, no lessons are learned. Kenyans move on, and forget about the whole thing. And so buildings will continue to fall, and bombs will keep being planted. Ferries will keep sinking, and trains will be derailed. Buses will continue crashing in exactly the same places for decades. […]

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Jun 19, 2011
Why things may get worse before they get better

What on earth has happened to India? That country, one of the huge economic success stories of recent times, is resembling a banana republic again. Witness the astonishing spectacle of “saints” and “godmen” holding “hunger fasts,” supposedly to end corruption. At first I wanted to applaud, thinking: now there’s a way to make a stand […]

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Jun 12, 2011
Why is Kigali so clean and orderly?

After years of procrastination, I finally made it to Kigali recently. I had, of course, heard what you have all heard: that it is an African city that is clean and orderly. I was, of course, sceptical. Seeing is believing. Even so, the evidence of my own eyes was hard to believe. The roads and […]

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May 15, 2011
It’s time for Africa to reclaim its pride

Pride, Africa, pride. Africa lost its dignity somewhere, and all thinking Africans have to help this continent find it again. We do not want to be the world’s problem child, the one with learning difficulties that requires every kind of pseudo-expert from abroad. We don’t want all our knowledge and technology to be imported and […]

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Mar 06, 2011
Leaders, pay attention to the fruit-seller who changed the world

Kenyan leaders, I know you don’t read much. Your time seems to be wholly consumed by midnight meetings, political plots and ugly utterances. So I thought I would offer you an executive summary of the story of a man who has just changed the world. Please read this as your driver overlaps through our 24/7 […]

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Feb 27, 2011
We are creating a society where anything goes and nothing grows

“The rules are the rules, and they cannot be broken.” So said the Deputy Speaker of Kenya’s house of parliament last week, and many of us applauded. He was blocking MPs from attempting an infringement of parliament’s rules, and doing so with ironclad certainty that neither he nor the Speaker would permit any laxity. Hear, […]

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Dec 12, 2010
Wikileaks fiasco shows establishment’s need to keep people in the dark

I can’t really avoid discussing Wikileaks this week, can I? It’s the big international story of the year, and has the whole world buzzing, divided, outraged, delighted – depending of your point of view. Here in Kenya we are also waiting, some with bated breath, to know what those pesky US diplomats really thought about […]

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Dec 05, 2010
What Kenyans are peculiarly good at: Forgetting

A few weeks ago, several Kenyans died in the most unnecessary manner. They were trampled underfoot by a stampeding mob. I refer to the Nyayo Stadium tragedy of October, which left many families grieving and dozens in hospital. Do you remember what I’m talking about? Is the event beginning to reappear through the mists of […]

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Oct 25, 2010
Principal shareholders: learn from the woes of a football club

“The owners of the Boston Red Sox have completed a £300 million ($480.1 million) deal to buy Liverpool Football Club, bringing an end to a fractious fight for control of the storied English soccer franchise. New England Sports Ventures LLC, which owns the Red Sox, announced Friday it had completed its purchase of the Premier […]

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Oct 03, 2010
India’s games shame should be a wake-up call

India’s shame is nearly complete. You will not have failed to notice the utter mess the country has made of the preparing for the ongoing Commonwealth Games. “Shining India” was meant to showcase its newly acquired global prowess by holding an event to make the world sit up and take notice. Well, the world did […]

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Aug 29, 2010
Time to finally slay the corruption dragon

Jackie Selebi, former police chief in South Africa, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment this month on corruption charges. The presiding judge called him “an embarrassment to all right-thinking citizens of this country.” Here, a new team under PLO Lumumba was finally appointed, after a protracted process, to head the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. And a […]

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Aug 23, 2010
Who is being appointed to your board, and why?

“…when Lehman (Brothers) was first being spun out of American Express Co. Harvey Golub, then-chairman of American Express, was giving the AmEx board a presentation about the benefits of the spinoff of the investment banking firm…”The presentation — a basic rundown of the businesses within Lehman, and what the economics looked like going forward — […]

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Aug 08, 2010
Now, finally, hand back real power to the people

“All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya…” If that single sentence – the first one in our new constitution – is implemented to its fullest, our twenty-year wait will have been worth it. Those in favour outnumbered those against, two to one, and so we have a new constitution. Those who backed it […]

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Aug 01, 2010
Win or lose, let’s do it with grace

Next week Kenyans go to the polls again, to say yes or no to a new constitution. On Wednesday, some of us will lose and some of us will win. After Wednesday, we need to know HOW to lose and HOW to win. The recent football World Cup final was an ugly affair. The Dutch […]

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Jul 11, 2010
How the MPs ruined my World Cup

I was planning to write about the World Cup this Sunday, but those parliamentarians of ours had to go and ruin everything. So you won’t get my pleasant ruminations about the world’s greatest tournament; instead you’ll receive my diatribe against the world’s most overpaid elected representatives. Like most Kenyans, I was sickened by Ghana’s tragic […]

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Jul 05, 2010
Your chairman should be a great storyteller

“The latest revised UK code…states: “There should be a dialogue with shareholders based on the mutual understanding of objectives. The board … has responsibility for ensuring that a satisfactory dialogue with shareholders takes place.” But how hard companies find this basic task to be. Drowning in technical measurements – total shareholder returns, earnings per share, […]

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Jun 28, 2010
Take the board chair’s job very, very seriously

“When Jack Krol became the lead director at Tyco International, in 2003, he developed, in conjunction with CEO Edward Breen, a document specifying his own role. With input from the board, the governance committee then developed some general characteristics of the role for whoever would succeed Krol in the future. Krol said three competencies or […]

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Jun 20, 2010
Why what I think about the constitution doesn’t matter

Last Sunday Kenya changed for the worse. As we know, grenades were thrown at a rally held as part of the current constitutional review campaigns. The resulting explosions killed six Kenyans and injured scores of others. The numbers mislead us. They turn the people who died into mere statistics. Note and turn the page. But […]

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May 16, 2010
A very strange British election

The good people of the United Kingdom went to the polls last week, and a very strange outcome ensued. No party managed to garner sufficient votes to command a majority in parliament. David Cameron’s Conservative Party gained the most seats, but fell short of a majority. Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour got hammered in the […]

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