The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Shareprice Fodder …
November 21, 2008, 6:30 am
Filed under: Comment

Photo: The Emperor Dalek

So Citibank have announced they’re getting rid of [and that’s the right choice of words] over 50,000 employees.


This is on top of the alleged 22,000 they discarded earlier in the year when the financial crisis … something they played an integral part in causing … started to take effect.

Apparently the reason given for this mass clearout is ‘to increase the Citibank shareprice’.

[Puts a new twist on that Citibank ad I slagged off a while back doesn’t it?]

Now whilst it would be easy to feel no sorrow for these people, the reality is that I am sure the majority of them are just everyday workers who never really prospered from the financial shenanigans their bosses were cooking up 50 floors above their cubicle … however there’s another thing that bothers me … what did 50,000 people do that means they can be kicked out and yet the company still functions as normally?

Maybe they were hired to basically ‘launder’ the ill gotten gains of the bank … maybe they were employed to process all the mortgages the bank shouldn’t of agreed to … but I reckon there’s a great opportunity for a competitor to run a campaign that says …

“When 72,000 staff disappear in a year, the level of service will disappear too”

… of course I’d rather say …

“When a bank sheds 72,000 jobs in a year, are they being prudent or desperate?”

Here’s the thing …

I don’t see why getting rid of 72,000 people would be good for your shareprice.

OK, I can appreciate maybe the shorter-term savings … but after you’ve paid them out, it’s not going to be that positive. And besides, I can’t believe Citibank employed that many people to basically twiddle their thumbs. Something is going to suffer either because people aren’t there anymore to do particular jobs or other people are working so hard, mistakes happen through tiredness or lack of attention to detail.

I’ll show my age here, but I remember a time when making people redundant was the absolutely last resort. The last.

Now it seems to be the first plan of action.

How can a company expect loyalty when its employees know that when the slightest bump happens, they’re the first out?

But it’s not all companies fault.

Photo: Galeria_Futbolera

I know quite a few people [and I’m talking about midlevel folk and above here, not the guys lower down who often are the ones who are really doing all the work!] who expect to get ever increasing pay rises even if their company is under major financial pressure.

OK, so if the company is asking its employees to suffer while the guys at the top are still living it large, I can understand – but there’s a few guys I know who think it is a right, regardless of their efforts in the year, to automatically qualify for ever increasing annual income.

Of course the whole concept of a ‘fair wage for a fair day of work’ is impossible because what one person thinks is ‘fair’, another thinks it’s derisory [Ashley Cole, take note] however we’re now in a situation where many employees/unions [and remember, I am very pro-Union] go all out to screw the company for every penny they can get while many companies go all out to wring every ounce of employee capability without any regard for their long-term well being.

Yes I’m being generalistic and I know not everyone is like this … hell, probably it’s a minority, but when you work in a blood sucking industry like mine, it’s easy to get your perspectives wrong … but to me it’s one of the major contributing factors to the demise of society and community.

Which came first – the lack of company loyalty or the lack of employee consideration?

Who knows – and frankly, who cares – but as I’ve said a few times, I hope this financial meltdown helps give people/organisations some perspective/transparancy because otherwise all the suffering that is happening and still to happen, will be in total vain.

As a sacked car worker said on a Michael Moore movie …

“How are people going to afford to buy expensive American made products if they’ve all been sacked and have a few dollars to live on?”

I guess everyone at Ford, GM and Chrysler are about to find that out …

[As an aside, the amount of people finding themselves homeless as a byproduct of this travesty is rising at unbelievable levels, so don’t ignore them – help – because they need to feel valid, valuable and human if they’re going to find the courage and strength to get out of it again. Remember, they’re Human_2]

21 Comments so far
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“Shareprice fodder” is a great definition of all that is wrong with the corporate sector these days. Brilliant. How can companies expect loyalty when their employees know they will be removed immediately if the shareprice is under pressure?

And like you mentioned in your post, on a macro level mass retrenchments doesn’t even make much sense from a shareprice point of view.

I love your attack on Citi and there’s validity in wondering how a corporation can get rid of nearly 100,000 people and still expect to run efficiently. I laughed at the thought they were hired to “money launder” their ill gotten gains.

A great post to end the week because it made me smile and made me think and you can’t ask for much more.

Comment by Pete

I haven’t popped by here for a while but this post reassures me you’ve got our back. See you soon buddy.

Comment by Jonathan Rosenberg

its a fucking title fight between auntie george and uncle jonathan. who will win the coveted “worlds nicest guy” belt? watch as they slug it out trading compliments and handshakes. gasp as they get interested in eachothers ideas and thoughts. cry as it all gets too fucking nice.

hello jonathan 🙂

i like this post campbell. no im not joking. its bitter, twisted, funny and even a teensy weensy bit smart. who the fuck wrote it for you? np?

i have a nagging fucking fear this term “shareprice fodder” might catch on so im going out to get pissed and drop it into every fucking conversation i can so when it gets on cnn ill get the credit rather than you. sorry love but alls fair in love and fame

Comment by andy@cynic

from arrogance to share fodder… no sweeter segue.

brilliant post. bravo. next question: what the fuck are citibank shareholders saying? why aren’t they holding the board to task? who’s really greedier? shareholder, or exec?

Comment by lauren

You are writing what many people are thinking but few in adland would dare publically say.

When advertising CEO’s stop desperately seeking pats on the head from uninterested corporations, advertising will get back it’s relevance but until that moment sometime never in the future, the public will have to endure even more barely hidden, totally irrelevant corporate mission statements all wrapped up in gratuitous post production effects and Europop soundtracks.

The current economic situation angers me very much but advertisings lack of backbone upsets me even more. How can they let financial institutions continue with their false promise advertising? It’s high time adland remembers we need to hear the voices of the people as much as the ego of the client.

Excellent post Robert, you’re back in Mary’s good books.

Comment by George

Mary … Mary … I think your husband has been at the vodka again and we all know what happened last time he did that.

In all seriousness, I agree with you George – and not because I’m frightened of what you might do to me if I don’t. The need for ‘corporate acceptance’ by many senior figures in adland is definitely having an influence in the lack of relevant work being produced.

I was only talking to some of the guys yesterday how I am amazed banks like HSBC and Citibank are contining doing ‘we’ll help you invest for your future’ ads when the majority of people regard them them as the guys who have destroyed their livlihoods and business.

Delusion doesn’t do it justice … which is why ad agencies and research companies should be telling them the truth, not out of bitter revenge, but so they can create communication that can make a difference for them, their category and their customers.

I’ve said it before but now is the best time for a bank to take a stand – what a shame they don’t realise the World is against them because the people they spend time with are all yes men wanting their turn at the trough.

PS: Is this your attempt to THROW the ‘nice guy’ title fight? Are you betting against yourself? Ha.

Comment by Rob

Execs are merely the soldiers FOR the shareholders, so maybe that’s the answer to your question, Lauren?

Comment by Age

exactly age. but who informs the shareholders? who leads them to believe that share price is to be protected AT ALL COSTS?

Comment by lauren

off topic I’m afraid – but have to share. got a phone call this morning from one of those investment guys, offering me a chance to be part of a consortium, nothing new there of course. but this, he told me was special, incredible returns, have to be quick. they are buying up masses of foreclosed properties in the US, the homes of people who who have been kicked out by the banks for not being able to pay their mortgages. is that blood money – or am I just being melodramatic and niaeve? I wish I could have thought of something clever to say to him, but I just told him to fuck off and put the phone down..

Comment by Mr McG

I’ve always said that anyone who owns shares has to take responsibility for the actions of an organisation – good or bad – however in the case of Citibank, I have been led to believe the major shareholders tend to be more institutions than Mum’s and Dad’s … which probably explains why stupidity [less people = less ability to perform] prevails.

I wonder if companies realise that if they continue to make people redundent, they are basically stopping anyone from being able to afford their shares in the future?

But hey, we all know the money markets think days ahead rather than months or years. And people use to regard these guys as smart! Amazing!

Comment by Rob

Oh and why hasn’t anyone held the Citibank board to task? Probably because if they did, every listed company would suddenly find themselves under attack from people who want answers not smoke screens.

The older I get, the more I believe much of corporate America models itself on the movie ‘The Firm’.

As an aside, you should gO and buy the book ‘Cityboy: Beer & Loathing In The Square Mile’ … about the excessive exploits these bankers get/got up to when times were good and they thought they could get away from it all before it crashed around their ears.

It’s hillarious till you realise it’s true and they hold the average person with the same level of affection as we hold a tissue we’ve just snotted into.

Comment by Rob

case in point, the big three autocompany bosses flying in on private jets to ask for 25 billion bail out money.

it’s never about shareholders or ordinary folk. it’s about the skull & bones frat protection programme.

It’s bad enough private debt is being nationalized, but upping the shareholder price by cutting the most important asset of the business is all one needs to know if ever applying for a job at citybank.

plus imaging the millions of ideas that are lost by cuting the folks. why not make them work part time and on the other clock become intrapreneurs by entering a brainchallenge to up revenue..

72.000 people with ideas and motivation, now that’s a powerfull army indeed.

Comment by Niko

Hire the fired, set up something new and push the previous employer back into the stone age.

I like the way you think Niko … pity there’s no one who’ll lend you the cash to do it both because they haven’t got any and they’re unlikely to help a bunch of guys who have the drive and motivation to completely fuck up their business.

But I know a company who might 🙂

Comment by Rob

i tried being agreeable and nice, rob, and all i got was crap. so it’s back to doom

now if you’ll excuse me there is a real crisis in holland i neet to look after. they are trying to make drugs a criminal offence.

Comment by Niko

I tried nice too Niko. Got me no where.

Comment by Marcus

we should combine forces

Comment by Niko

there’s a thought Niko.

Comment by Marcus

nice is fucking overrated and anyone who thinks otherwise can fuck off and die

Comment by andy@cynic

Ahh directors and major shareholders. Why take a 5% pay and dividend cut when you could fire 5 people instead. It’s all fucking bullshit, I wish as a people we didn’t accept it.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

a fine post old bean. all i can add is that a year or so ago, the saudi prince who owns 4 percent of Citi – and who is considering upping his stake to five if the shareprice stays down – publicly berated Citi’s top dogs for their extravagance.
yes. a Saudi Prince – hardly a target group for supersaving budget marketing – thought these jokers were spending ridiculous amounts of cash. “you know you have a problem when…”

Comment by Ella

Excellent point young lady – now sod all that, how is Sweden?

Comment by Rob

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