Friday, December 18, 2015

Avoiding promotional management...

From Capital Account (and written by Marathon in December 2002):
We suspect that business leaders who are busy promoting themselves or their stock are not properly focused on running their companies. We go out of our way to look for management that cares about shareholder value but doesn't hype its stock. In this respect we admire Johann Rupert, the CEO of Richemont, the luxury products group, who advises against the corporate hard sell on the grounds that 'if you talk up the stock, when the price comes down, the folks come looking for you!' All too often, however, denial and a desire to 'spin' the most optimistic message gets the better of truth in meetings with shareholders. Bad news is rarely telegraphed in advance. One learns to apply a filter to all promotional noises and avoid those companies whose executives seem most talented in the art of spin.

And in case anyone has missed it, the more recent set of Marathon letters is available in the book Capital Returns: Investing Through the Capital Cycle: A Money Manager's Reports 2002-15.