"If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, responding to a challenge from a shareholder at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting
OK, this is going to be something of a rant so hang in there.
I left my position in corporate life just over thirty five years ago. One of the reasons I left was for what at the time I perceived as a basic conflict between my understanding of capitalism, more accurately “for-profit” pursuits and what I saw in practice. It seemed to me that the short term, quarterly targets, stock price etc. frequently trumped the long term interests, especially those of employees, and often shareholders if they were in for the longer term investment. Somewhere behind the short term moves it was always possible to find a small group of employees, usually senior managers, who benefitted disproportionately from the impact of short term maneuvering.