If “staying active” is the key to a long life, Carl Icahn will probably live for years. At 77, the US investor is on a concerted activist campaign. He has tried (unsuccessfully) to disrupt Michael Dell’s buyout of the computer maker he founded, dined with Apple’s chief executive and pressed him to return cash to shareholders, and last week planted board members – including his son Brett – at Nuance, the Boston technology company that gives Apple’s Siri his/her voice.
In saying AG Lafley is “uniquely qualified” to lead Procter & Gamble – again – Jim McNerney, the board’s presiding director, somewhat understates the case.
Not only was Mr Lafley one of P&G’s most successful ever leaders between 2000 and 2009, he has literally written the book on how he achieved the corporate turnround – Playing to Win, co-authored by Roger Martin and published this year. But the record of chief executives who return to the top job is mixed: while there are benefits to bringing back the former CEO, there are pitfalls too.
Depositors of banks in Cyprus now fear they have less money than they thought while US corporations have plenty of cash to hand – $1.45tn and rising, according to Moody’s. But whose money is it, anyway?