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March 15, 2015

Is DHR International's "roster" of directors for CTPartners "Blue Chip"?

Updated: March 16, 2015: including more definitions of "Blue Chip" and WSJ articles on Farley.

DHR International have handpicked a "roster" of six new directors they are proposing for election to the Board of Directors of CTPartners.

The DHR International press release claims:
  1. "The proposed board members ... represent some of the best managed companies in the world."
  2. ""This proposed slate is about as Blue Chip as it gets,” said David Hoffmann, the principal shareholder of DHR International ...  The collective expertise of our board nominees will help drive maximum value for shareholders.”
According to the NYSE, "A blue chip stock is stock in a company with a national reputation for quality, reliability and the ability to operate profitably in good times and bad." Every definition we can find is similar e.g. Merriam-Webster's definition: "a stock issue of high investment quality that usually pertains to a substantial well-established company and enjoys public confidence in its worth and stability; also:  a company that offers such stocks"; "a business or undertaking with an outstanding record or likelihood of profitability"; or "one that is outstanding".

So, to be as "Blue Chip as it gets", the whole "roster" needs to be "Blue Chip"? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Is this "roster" "Blue Chip"? Let's start with two directors.

William Farley is best known for running Fruit of the Loom and sending it bankrupt. According to Wikipedia, "in 1999 the company filed to reorganize its debt. Later that year, Farley retired from his position as president and CEO just prior to the bankruptcy filing in 1999." So, under Farley's ownership, it would be incorrect to say Fruit of the Loom had "the ability to operate profitably in good times and bad" or under Farley's watch "enjoy[ed] public confidence in its worth and stability" or was one of "the best managed companies in the world". It thus fails the definition of "Blue Chip".

For more information on Farley and his presiding over the failure of Fruit of the Loom, see the WSJ and here. We also note that the DHR press release does not refer to any listed company leadership positions Farley has held since 1999 i.e. for 16 years.

Geoffrey Hoffmann has only worked for his daddy's businesses. The largest of these is DHR International, which is a relatively small (162 consultant) privately held firm. It is farfetched to claim it has a "national reputation for quality and reliability". Just look at their track record on this web site and form your own view whether DHR International is "Blue Chip". Certainly, the large number of lawsuits from clients and employees suggest there are issues impacting "quality and reliability".

At least looking at the press release, Hoffmann Jr. has never held any listed company roles.

This is another example of "Hoffmannitis".

Thank you to the readers who have sent in anonymous emails with information on the other directors on the "roster". If you could back the information up with publicly available information that we can point to, then we will post the information. This web site will only post information that is supportable by publicly available facts.

8 comments:

  1. I have a question: how can Geoff Hoffmann be the CEO (and son of the owner) of one search firm and expect to serve on the Board of a competitor.

    Isn't that a conflict of interest?

    Would the SEC and NYSE allow it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice try on the edit but still laughably misleading. A definition for stock cannot be used to define the leadership capabilities or decision making of a board member. Your use of quotation marks to signify this is elementary. This eradicates any and all logic you tried to inject. You are trying and failing to compare apples and oranges by attempting to place people's skillset into the framework of a nonliving thing with no intangible attributes.

    To instruct the readers to form an opinion on DHR itself when it is the Board Members of a different firm being evaluated is just further evidence of this vendetta.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Didnt David Hoffman say "This proposed slate is about as Blue Chip as it gets"???? Isnt he the one that is saying the directors are blue chip???? What is the nonliving thing here????

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    2. We are thrilled that someone from the DHR camp is reading this web site and thank you for your comments however we are not sure we understand them.

      1. It was David Hoffmann in his press release who referred to the "roster"/"slate" as "Blue Chip".
      2. Every specific definition of "Blue Chip" refers to stocks or companies. Even if you say "Blue Chip" means 'outstanding' or 'superlative' or 'premium', then this logic still applies.
      3. By saying, "This proposed slate is about as Blue Chip as it gets", Hoffmann is either saying that each individual on the slate is "Blue Chip" or the companies they "represent" are "Blue Chip". Again, it is Hoffmann, not us, who says "The proposed board members ... represent some of the best managed companies in the world." He is making the explicit linkage between the individuals and their companies.
      4. The only information the press release includes to suggest why the roster is "Blue Chip" is the list of the individuals' current and previous companies.
      5. Any half-decent executive search consultant would tell you that candidates are only as good as their track records.
      6. Individuals' track records include the behaviors and performance of the companies they lead, especially when they are CEO.
      7. William Farley was CEO of Fruit of the Loom when "in 1999 the company filed to reorganize its debt. Later that year, Farley retired from his position as president and CEO just prior to the bankruptcy filing in 1999." The DHR International press release does not indicate him holding any public company board positions over the last 16 years.
      8. Geoffrey Hoffmann was EVP Operations of DHR from 2006, COO from 2008 been COO and CEO since 2012 and thus is responsible for the actions and results of DHR since at least 2012 if not earlier. The press release does not suggest he has any public company board experience.
      9. Quotes in our article are only used when we are quoting someone, either David Hoffmann in the press release or the definitions of "Blue Chip".
      10. The article merely questions the track record of DHR International's handpicked "slate" of Board candidates for CTPartners and questions the extent to which they meet the "Blue Chip" standard that DHR International claims.

      We look forward to your response.

      Delete
  3. I am curious as to whether this blog is anti-DHR, anti Hoffman, or anti-DHR as a byproduct of it being owned/managed by the Hoffman's?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't DHR and the Hoffman's the same thing? DHR has no independent board. I think this blog is just showing the way the Hoffman's and DHR operate.

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  4. Perhaps a source other than Wikipedia could be used?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestion. We have added some.

      Delete