The Decade from Hell
This chapter analyzes the 2000s, which for public companies and the executives who ran them was akin to “the decade from hell.” The stock market performed poorly, the number of public companies declined substantially, and scandals in the early 2000s and the financial crisis of 2008 greatly eroded confidence in big business. A deregulatory trend that began in the late 1970s was reversed, epitomized by the enactment of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. A casualty of the bad news for public companies was the imperial-style CEO who featured prominently as the 1990s drew to a close. Those running banks nevertheless enjoyed a corporate governance “free pass” in the mid-2000s that arguably contributed to the onset of the financial crisis.
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