Corporate Governance Spreads To Yahoo!, Green Mountain, Chesapeake

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Corporate governance, which is a subject often debated but usually in abstract, has moved to the front pages. Patti Hart, the Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) director who was in charge of the search for new CEO Scott Thompson, will leave the board. Thompson has a misleading section in his CV which showed he has a degree he does not. A special committee of Yahoo! directors, all of whom were added this year, will decide whether Thompson should be fired.

On the same day that Hart left, the chairman and founder of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR) lost his job at the head of the board. His fellow board members forced Robert Stiller step down because he made stock sales during a period when the activity was prohibited. Stiller had to make the sales. When the firm’s stock dropped almost 50%, he received margin calls because of borrowing against the shares. William Davis, the lead director, was kicked out of his job because of stock sales. Both men will stay on the board, but will not be  members of any committees.

The same day that both the Yahoo! and Green Mountain changes were disclosed, Reuters produced evidence that the board of embattled Chesapeake Energy(NYSE: CHK)  allowed a large number of private plane flights by directors and officers. This comes on top of allegations of self-dealing by CEO Aubrey McClendon, who personally invested in a number of wells drilled by Chesapeake.