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

Apr 12, 2010
Before you join any board, ask yourself “Why?”

“The first step in ‘getting on a board’ is to ask why you want to be on a board. If the answer is for self-aggrandizement or prestige, the reputational risks today far outweigh any such benefits. Similarly, if it is for financial reward, there are easier, less risky ways to make money. If it is because you have […]

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Mar 15, 2010
A potential corporate scandal is lurking in your company

“Ten years ago this month, for the Spring 2000 edition of Directors & Boards, I ran a photo on the cover of Dennis Kozlowski, then the high-flying chief of high-flyer Tyco International. It is not something I am ashamed of, nor is it something that I am particularly happy to be reminded of.  Those were certainly […]

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Feb 28, 2010
Reflections on our roads and their users

There’s nothing like a quiet drive to aid the reflection process. Or so I thought. I embarked on a family trip to the great mountain in the heart of our country recently, and was able to think a little about the land we live in. My first set of thoughts were about our drivers. These […]

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Feb 07, 2010
Our leadership model is costing us dearly

Picture the scene. The former leader of a global power is summoned to a commission of inquiry. He spends a full day there, in front of the world’s cameras. He is grilled by the commissioners on every aspect of certain decisions he made: why he did and said certain things; what he knew and did […]

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Jan 25, 2010
Are you REALLY serious about your succession process?

“Look in the mirror. If you really don’t want your potential successor to get the job, don’t kid yourself. There is a very strong probability that this person will never get the job. You will just look for problems until you find a reason to disqualify him. Don’t jerk around potential successors. This is not […]

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Jan 17, 2010
Kenya’s international position also gives us hope

For the past two weeks this column has been trying to instil some hope in you, to suggest that maybe, just maybe, things will getter better for Kenya. To end the series, let me move you smoothly to a third reason for hope in 2010: our international position. If you want to understand Kenya’s role […]

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Jan 03, 2010
Reasons to be hopeful in Kenya in 2010

2008 and 2009 were years of great gloom in Kenya. We kicked off 2008 with a bloodbath orchestrated by leaders and delivered by angry young men. Since then we have been on a tumultuous ride, facing a faltering economy, a hydra-headed leadership and a plethora of scams and scandals. The words “failed state” and “Kenya” […]

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Dec 28, 2009
In 2010, appoint more women to your board of directors

“The number of female directors on FTSE 100 boards has stalled at 131 over the past year, a report has said. Furthermore, the number of firms with female executive directors fell from 16 to 15, the Cranfield School of Management report found. There was also a “disappointing” drop in the number of boards with multiple […]

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Nov 08, 2009
President’s trimming of motorcade could be just the beginning

It’s not easy to be optimistic in Kenya these days, and most conversations about the future are laced with gloom. But last week brought us probably the most positive development seen in Kenya in recent times. You may have missed it, though. President Kibaki, when he left to attend a conference in Nigeria, reportedly travelled […]

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Nov 01, 2009
Growing kidnapping culture could destroy our society

It behoves every society to look ahead, to peer through the mists of time and see what might happen to it tomorrow. We often wait for bad events to occur before addressing them, yet a little anticipatory thinking might allow us to foresee them and avoid them. There is a very serious problem brewing in […]

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Oct 26, 2009
Can your board challenge your CEO?

“Jack Welch’s tenure as CEO of GE was, by any measure, phenomenally successful. But even the most remarkable CEOS are mere mortals, and bound to err from time to time. In Welch’s case, one notable blunder was his ill-fated attempt to acquire Honeywell in 2001. It was a deal fraught with risk, undertaken with little […]

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Oct 18, 2009
Today’s Kenya: A Shakespearean tragedy?

Justice Aaron Ringera, erstwhile head of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, quoted Shakespeare extensively during his tenure and elaborately during his prolonged departure. He is a lifelong devotee of the Great Bard, and with good reason: any lover of English must of necessity be a lover of the works of William Shakespeare. Such is his influence […]

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Sep 27, 2009
Kenya’s most costly animal: the White Elephant

On Nairobi’s Nyerere Avenue, you will find a most intriguing sign. It says “Children’s Traffic Park”. Inside, on this most prime of prime real estate, you will see a large, elaborate operation. It looks like a most commendable initiative: a simulated road model, complete with battery-operated cars and other road vehicles, to teach children good […]

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Aug 23, 2009
Nairobi City Council – hope or despair?

These days, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the Nairobi City Council. There are reasons to do both. Let’s get the crying over with first. Was it possible to watch the recently concluded mayoral election in Nairobi and not burst into tears, even if you’re a grown man? For this process stretches […]

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Aug 17, 2009
Bankers beware: a new era of regulation looms

“It is clear that governance failures contributed materially to excessive risk taking in the lead up to the financial crisis. Weaknesses in risk management, board quality and practice, control of remuneration ,and in the exercise of ownership rights need to be addressed in the UK and internationally to minimise the risk of a recurrence. Better […]

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Aug 16, 2009
Until we clean up our act, the lectures will keep coming

This has been a time of being lectured and hectored by foreigners, and not many of our leaders liked it. Prime Minister Raila Odinga took umbrage at the tone and message of the American ambassador at the opening of the AGOA conference last week. He said, in no uncertain terms, that Kenya does not need […]

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Aug 10, 2009
Are you making a mess of succession planning?

“Despite everyone knowing that nothing stays still, there are countless examples of no natural successor being in place for when the time comes, especially when the leader has an air of invincibility. Most potential successors will not hang around long if they do not feel there is any chance of the boss moving on. Consequently, […]

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Aug 09, 2009
What did we gain from Hillary Clinton’s visit?

Hillary Clinton paid her much-anticipated visit to Kenya. US President Barack Obama had already signalled his unwillingness to visit his fatherland, so we knew that his redoubtable Secretary of State was the next best thing. Now, I often wonder about these visits and whether they serve any purpose other than spelling out America’s agenda in […]

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Jul 19, 2009
Obama only saying what we know to be true

“No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt. No person wants to […]

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Jul 13, 2009
My 100th BD column: more businesslike AGMs

“Kenyan shareholders may soon have to make do without the Annual General Meeting perks should a move by Safaricom be adopted by other listed companies. The mobile firm’s roster of over 800,000 shareholders – the largest number in corporate Kenya’s history – has pushed it to identify cost-cutting measures during AGMs. Chief among them is […]

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Jul 06, 2009
How one famous family oversees its business

“G.M.’s managers must answer to a new majority owner, the federal government, which in turn hopes to sell off its stake to other investors. Chrysler executives are learning to work with the Italian automaker Fiat, which acquired most of its assets. Ford’s top managers said they have no such worries about their controlling shareholders. “These […]

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Jun 21, 2009
Let’s pamper our MPs even more…

There seems to be a bit of noise in the country about the proposal to build a walkway connecting Parliament Building, Continental House and County Hall at a proposed cost of Sh 61 million. This is to allow our members of parliament to cross the road with ease as they walk between their primary workplaces. […]

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May 24, 2009
A jolly good British scandal

I don’t know about you, but I find it immensely entertaining when the British are caught in a moral quandary. This is a nation that often preaches moral probity and higher-order values and ethics to the rest of the world; it is great sport when they get their own knickers in a twist, as they […]

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Apr 20, 2009
Joining a board of directors should be taken very seriously

“Coote got me in as a director of something or other. Very good business for me – nothing to do except go down into the City once or twice a year to one of those hotel places – Cannon Street or Liverpool Street – and sit around a table where they have some very nice […]

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Mar 23, 2009
What your board should do in a downturn

“During the bursting of the tech bubble, our management developed a set of principles, or objectives, which would guide it through the downturn, however long and deep that might be. The principles are probably somewhat generic, but perhaps could be tuned for each situation. Our principles were: “We will attempt to remain cash flow neutral […]

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