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But there were other operational and management issues under fire, not all of which fell under Nardelli's reign but for which he took the hit: allegations that the company overcharged vendors (see full story).; a grand jury subpoena (see full story) ; and a messy options-backdating discovery (see full story).The market, long miffed by the lackluster performance of the shares, might not be in total agreement.Shares of Home Depot , a Dow industrials component, climbed better than 4% at the open Wednesday on the news, but fell to roughly half that to close at .07.Nardelli's departure, he said, is not about "vision and strategy. "Strategic leadership and fundamentals all become secondary if the market and the shareholders and the analysts all have lost trust in you." Timing also appears to have played a role in what appears to be Nardelli's untimely departure.His contract, signed in 2000, called for five full years at the helm before his severance package kicked in, allowing him to leave kicking, but with that estimated 0 million.Meanwhile, his attempt to take the Wal-Mart Stores approach of wringing more profit margin out of suppliers by demanding lower prices backfired badly and pushed a handful of important vendors out of the stores.Along the way, he turned to diversifying the company's core business, spending an extraordinary amount of money and focus on Home Depot Supply and expanding internationally with store purchases in Mexico and China.
But by that time, the debacle had taken on a life of its own, leading to an outcry by shareholders, a looming proxy battle amid speculation of a leveraged buyout. Mack Robinson College of Business's Center for Global Business Leadership at Georgia State University in Atlanta. "If you lose your credibility as an executive, you've lost your foundation," said Senn, who has followed the company closely and has worked with Nardelli and other top executives."Obviously that severance package is a sign that (leaving) wasn't really his doing," S&P's Souers said. It was more the board pushing him out and offering him such a nice parachute." Quite possibly, but the move also follows Home Depot's 3% drop in third-quarter profit and its warning that the fourth-quarter results would fall well short of expectations. The ouster also comes ahead of the retailer's annual analyst meeting, set for Feb. That gives the "new" team, led by Frank Blake, promoted from vice chairman of the board, nearly two months to tweak strategy in time for presentations to analysts and investors.Blake also worked with Nardelli at GE and said Wednesday that he would follow the strategic direction in place, though analysts didn't necessarily buy that. Despite Wednesday's hoopla, many analysts kept their strong buy or buy ratings on the company. The stock's cheap, trading at a paltry 13 times to 15 times earnings expectations.Michael Souers, an equity analyst at Standard & Poor's, agreed."Anyone who steps into that CEO role has to have some sort of arrogance and autocratic behavior," he said.