When the Financial Times says that non-U.S. corruption scandals have outpaced those which are U.S.-centric, you know something is at play. Yet in addition to this new view of the corruption world, the FT also pointed out how badly these companies fared from their own transgressions.
First up, as you would expect, is Volkswagen. Not much more can be said about a corporate fraud that lasted years and created systems to intentionally defraud emissions-testing protocols from around the world. VW says it is still trying to determine who came up with the fraud and who inside the company knew about it. The company’s share price dropped over 30% in the wake of the scandal. VW must not only satisfy regulators that it has made changes and is telling the truth this time, but it must also win back customers it has defrauded for years now. Finally, it will have to change an entire corporate culture while engulfed the biggest corporate scandal ever. To say that VW’s most challenging days are yet to come is probably a bit of an understatement.
Next up: the iconic Japanese entity, Toshiba and its $1.3 billion accounting scandal. The company over-inflated its numbers by that amount over seven years. The company has lost almost 50% of its value since the scandal became public. Now the piper must be paid, and the company will be forced to shed business units, up to 10,000 jobs and up to $2 billion in restructuring costs. Think about trying to change all four jet engines on a 767 Dreamliner while in flight and you get the picture.
Finally is the Swedish company Industrivärden, which controls stakes in other Swedish businesses such as lender Handelsbanken, telecoms group Ericsson, truckmaker Volvo, and paper company SCA. It was SCA where the scandal began, with “lurid reports—by Swedish standards—of wives, children and even pets taking the SCA corporate jet to visit hunting lodges and sporting events.” The scandal has decimated Industrivärden’s Board of Directors and requires changes in governance that may well have been long overdue, all in addition to a dip in the corporate valuation.
All of this and we did not even mention FIFA. I wonder what 2016 will bring?