More news on the Feltex front today: a judge has just cleared the directors of liability for disclosure failures. I have discussed the sorry story of Feltex before. That the directors were charged seemed to be fair, given the seemingly strong evidence that something was awry. However, the judge has now issued their reserved judgement. Many will be surprised that, in the face of incriminating emails and other evidence that directors knew there was a problem with the business fundamentals, the decision was not guilty. However, and interestingly, the judge did note "some justification" for the criticisms of the prospectus upon which the case was based.
Is this a case of well-heeled directors being able to rally a strong defence to protect their reputations, or was no wrong done? Regardless, the decision has been made, and with it a potentially dangerous precedent has been established—that the standard of accountability for directors may actually be quite low. While this is good news for directors, I'm not sure it is good news for shareholders, or for society more generally.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and effective board practice; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.