Sime Darby with the new management, and the merged entity as the biggest plantations company in the world, has stepped into a new era of management. And sad to say, its been a "C-" in the report card.
a) Sime Darby would usually make up the top 5 of any rankings on management. The recent FinanceAsia survey on Best Managed Company, Sime Darby habuk pun tarak... apa macam ni? I mean, for Sime Darby NOT to even make the top 10, something must be very wrong, it cannot be that ALL people are colluding to fuck with you. To be fair, Sime Darby still ranked well in corporate social responsibility and corporate governance sub categories.
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b) TheLabu Affair & The IJN coup attempt - Analysts and industry executives do not think that Malaysia needs two airports located within 10km of each other.
The IJN affair was even more unscrupulous, it was so obvious its the land that Sime was eyeing. Sime Darby has lost the plot when it comes to deciding who to go to bed with. It seems that no one is thinking of how Sime Darby will appear to the public and investors - imagine if you are a concert promoter, whether you bring on Amy Grant or go with Amy Winehouse has a lot of differing consequences. It seems that Sime's only concern is that "well, if we get this one, we will make tons of money", "screw what the public thinks", "screw what the fucking masterplan is", "screw what the government is thinking, all is negotiable one la" ... That is the kind of feeling I get, and I am sure many others will be perceiving that way of Sime Darby's new era.
c) Investors will accord a premium if management is consistent, clear, strategically composed and adds value. The new management is simply clumsy (jumping into this and that project with abandon), arrogant (fuck care what people may think, its the "we are so big, who the fuck should we care, even the government must give me face" attitude), unscrupulous (I mean seriously, IJN???... how can you make money WITHOUT patients being charged more than they are NOW???), increasingly heartless (pun intended), callous (look at the grouses by many of the employees of the merged plantation firms), manipulative (re: regurgitate previous grouses by employees), ruthless and predatory Sime Darby.
d) Yes, predatory is the key word, does that suit what Sime Darby is trying to achieve? Just look at the merged plantation units under Sime Darby. The level of discontent among them is still very high. So many capable staff have left the company already. If the staff from the merged entities were treated as equal, if they were respected for their contributions and eased into the overall Sime Darby's culture ... why would they leave, some may leave anyway, but not in the numbers we have seen over the past 12 months. Look at the projects they bidded for, they way they went about it.
Why I don't like Sime Darby has little to do with their fundamentals (well, I wouldn't be buying Sime on fundamentals even now... conglomerates ALWAYS under perform during a recovery stage ... too big, too many fingers in too many pies, uneven recovery, needs huge liqudity to move, etc..). When the soul of a company is tainted, not much good can come out of it, just 'accidents and mishaps' waiting to happen.
Well, there goes my chance to be employed by Sime Darby. If I may pass one word for management and the board to meditate and mull on, its this word: HUMILITY ... think of how the company came about, what made it great, the contributions of the many employees at the many merged units, ...
p/s photos: Zhang Jing Chu