Sunday, September 17, 2006

從HP主席下馬看公司管治

香港的公司管治制度究竟有幾專業,是一個相對而難有客觀標準來作出深入分析的問題,就是公司董事的權、責表面上確有一套法則可依從,但這套標準究竟是否能緊貼先進經濟體系國家的步伐,絕對是兩碼子的事。

禤中怡近日與美國投資賓架朋友在網上討論了一則震動該國財經市場的大新聞,賓架朋友問這宗新聞在香港財經市場帶來了多大的迴響或討論?禤中怡細意翻查了多個本地財經新聞網站,但提及到這宗新聞的資料可謂少之又少,再一次證明,香港的金融市場雖然在亞洲中總是站在前列位置,但一講到國際視野,則真的叫人大失所望,我不想把責任歸咎在那一個組織或團體之上,但證監會及聯交所(388)是本地金融市場的主要監管機構,她們究竟在研究國際財資市場發展上可有用上多少資源呢?天曉得了!

禤中怡談的美國財經市場大新聞,是惠普(HP)女主席Patricia Dunn因為受到壓力而被迫在明年1月18日辭任HP主席。原本一家世界性電腦公司主席辭職,其影響性大多只會圍繞在國內、甚至業內的小圈子吧了。但Patricia Dunn今次被迫辭官的原因,卻值得研究,據講HP涉嫌以非法手段調查公司資料如何外洩給傳媒機構,手法包括調查人員假扮董事局成員及傳媒人士來取得一些電話通話記錄資料。禤中怡並非美國法律專家,難以評論HP調查手法的合法及合理性,但顯然美國官府對這件事相當重視,更出動到美國聯邦調查局(FBI)、眾議院轄下能源和商務委員會(The Committe on Energy and Commerce)及美國加州地區檢察長等重量級單位來處理這宗被國內傳媒形容為醜聞的調查工作。

而接替Patricia Dunn、即將出任HP主席的原行政總裁Mark Hurd則對外發表聲明,指HP已採取行動保證不當的調查手法不會再運作下去,也不會容許這情況在HP存在。這宗事件的起因是HP公司內部資料向傳媒外洩所引起,但關鍵在於美國財金市場以致監管機構對傳媒知情權的重視。更重要的是上市公司高層問責觀念及對原則性法規的尊重表現。

一套配合時代發展的公司管治制度,從微觀而言,自然是處理公司運作為主要職責,但從HP今次事件看來,公司管治絕非只談商業運作這麼簡單。我們既然經常自恃是金融之都,反過來看亦有責任把公司管治這個對金融市場影響深遠的課題思考更多,不能永遠只靠跟從外國經驗,以免予人一種不思進取及缺乏自我思考能力之感。

戒毒藥變新毒品
怎樣解決吸毒這個問題,是全世界政府都感到頭痛的。各國政府都是軟硬兼施,一邊出動飛機大炮對付可能同時身兼恐怖分子的毒販,另一方面,又用各種新藥物,希望吸毒人士漸漸戒除毒癮。好像香港政府就在全香港廣設美沙酮中心。不過,如果政府不想清楚,「心口得個勇字」般試新方法,就可能日後執手尾執到手軟都未可解決。新加坡最近捉濫用戒毒藥物Subutex的人捉到手軟,大家就知發生甚麼事。

Subutex是一隻戒毒用的精神科藥物,由英國Reckitt Benckiser公司(即是出品滴露的公司)開發,作用同美沙酮一樣為幫助吸毒人士戒除毒癮。由於新加坡很想盡快解決吸毒這個問題,因此很快就引進這藥品,而且讓私家執業醫生,處方予有毒癮問題的病人,由私家醫生來處理戒毒問題,總好過由政府出手解決。

豈知Subutex本身都有成癮性,而且新加坡有些醫生「不生性」,在處方Subutex上過分輕率,結果不少癮君子不打海洛英,卻走去濫用Subutex,新加坡政府變相向癮君子提供合法毒品,令新加坡政府在三個禮拜前,禁止醫生處方Subutex,正使用Subutex的,經登記後由政府監督使用,無登記而去買Subutex的當藏毒罪處理,賣Subutex等同販毒,在新加坡販毒要處死。但嚴刑峻法下,三個禮拜便捉了50個非法賣Subutex,500幾個濫用Subutex的癮君子,目前政府怎處理這大批人,變成一大難題。

其他國家見到新加坡的失敗經驗,引進Subutex時管得嚴很多,像美國需先填多份表格,兼且索性改用同公司的改良版Suboxone(加入另一些成分防止食上癮),至於原裝Subutex就當然禁用,而其他國家的禁毒當局,真是要多謝新加坡這隻「白老鼠」。所以這個故事教訓各國政府,不要急於求成,因快得煩,咁又有乜謂?

(9月15日刊於《am730》)

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