Conrad Black

John Gapper

Novartis has done the right thing by scrapping its proposed payment of up to $78m to Daniel Vasella, its outgoing chairman, not to compete against the Swiss pharmaceuticals company. It raises questions not only about Swiss corporate governance but the entire principle of non-compete deals.

Mr Vasella was a dynamic and effective chief executive of Novartis but there is no obvious reason why he needs an extended non-compete agreement any more than another retiring chairman or corporate executive. 

It would be prudent to pause before taking advice from a man who was gaoled and his business empire broken up. 

John Gapper

Reading the Supreme Court’s judgments finding fault with the convictions of Jeff Skilling of Enron and Conrad Black, it is clear that Congress must act to close a loophole in the law.

Although the Supreme Court decision narrowing the “honest services” category of wire fraud to bribery and kickbacks is well-argued, the US needs to include fair dealing as well.