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Google's Corporate Governance Score Is "Pretty Darn Awful"

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-08-23

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Google has one of the worst corporate governance of any company in the S&P 500 index according to a highly respected advisory group.

Pat McGurn, special counsel to proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), spoke harshly via webcast of Google and it's IPO. The ISS gives Google a corporate governance rating of 0.2%. He goes on to state, "If you ask me, that's pretty darn awful".

"'Don't be evil', [is] the often stated motto of Google twins Larry Page and Sergy Brin, perhaps ‘don't be sloppy' would have served them better", McGurn comments. He goes on to observe, "The Silicon Valley dream team behind Google mania and the IPO looks more like the gang that couldn't shoot straight. These miscues played a leading role behind the company's decision to slash its offering price and the overall size of its float".

Regarding the Playboy interview, McGurn wonders if perhaps "Brin and Page were driven more by E-G-O rather than IPO". McGurn says, "This comedy of errors begs lingering questions about the company's sub-standard governance structure. The company's super voting rights structure gives insiders 10 votes per share compared to 1 vote per share for participants in the IPO. The last minute decision of insiders to sell less shares during the IPO guaranteed that insiders will have carte blanche power in running Google."

McGurn concludes, "Because Google lacks the usual checks and balances ... shareholders must closely scrutinize the judgement of the company's top decision makers including Brin and Page".

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