For many corporations it’s annual meeting season, marking the first time CEOs have been obliged to appear before stockholders since the economy went south. —News item
Welcome shareholders! I realize you’re accustomed to meeting each year in an ornate hotel ballroom—and I hope you don’t mind the change of venue. I’ve been asked to inform you that they stop serving breakfast here soon, so last call if you want an Egg McMuffin.
As your CEO and chairman, it is my duty to report that it’s been a mixed year for your company. On one hand, the financial crisis has led to the largest annual loss in company history, a 50 per cent reduction in our workforce and a 92 per cent decline in our share price. On the other, my bonus cheque cleared.
And that’s not the only good news. While results for the first quarter of 2009 show a 98 per cent drop in revenue from core business units, your company experienced a record 214 per cent increase in revenue from the sale of employee blood. Although this was more than offset by the medical costs associated with treating all those broken noses.
Shareholders, in hard times like these we need to think outside the box—and then go back into the box, which since the eviction has become our corporate headquarters. We also need to focus on the world as it is, on what exists today—such as low consumer confidence—and not dwell on what no longer exists, such as easy credit and our employee pension plan.
Perhaps I should take a moment to address some of the financial transactions you’ve all been arraigning me about. Some question whether the fourth quarter of 2008 was really a good time to spend in excess of $3 million to redecorate my office. What can I tell you? You might think the collapse of the global economy would mean a decline in the price of live Siberian tigers, but you’d be wrong.
Now is not the time for management and shareholders to bicker over who funded whose solid gold toilet. Now is the time to come together and rebuild. After all, that’s why we’re shareholders in this company. Well, that’s why you’re shareholders. I cashed out last spring.
Your management team is proud to announce that we are implementing a five-point strategy for survival:
1. We are cutting spending in non-essential areas. For instance, the Christmas party was cancelled. Same goes for the employee retreat, the asbestos removal and the respect for basic human rights. This cost-cutting extends even into the executive offices. Just last month, my iPod broke down—and I chose not to replace it, saving the company a few hundred dollars. Granted, this saving has not been without its costs. You’d be surprised how much U2 wants to sit patiently in the corner of my office until I feel like hearing With Or Without You.
2. We are scaling back on executive perks. Effective immediately, the board of directors has ordered changes to our executive kitchen, instituting a strict “one endangered species per day” directive. Although, if you ask me, a condor egg omelette just doesn’t taste right without a side of panda bacon. Additionally, I no longer have my oranges flown in fresh each morning by private jet. Instead, I take the private jet to Florida. It’s true there are no “tangible” cost savings, but then again how do you put a price on a tan this golden?
3. We are searching for new revenue opportunities. Are you going to finish that hash brown? Got a guy over here who looks interested.
4. Like many corporations, we’re switching over to zombie labour. Sure, summoning the dead is a risky strategy, in that it involves dark forces we can’t possibly comprehend. But in these trying times, our traditional reliance on sweatshop labour is starting to look pretty pricey. Zombies never stop working and eat only brains. Finally, a use for the nerds in IT.
5. We are continuing to point the Batman symbol into the sky. Really, what more can we do?
By way of conclusion, let me just say that your company has faced problems like these before. Several times in the past we have been confronted by adversity. Each and every time, your company has risen to the challenge by seeking bankruptcy protection, screwing over its creditors and shareholders, and coming out better and stronger than ever in its ability to pay my outrageous salary. So we’ll probably just do that again.
Thank you for your attendance here today. I see a lot of hands up out there, a few of which are not preparing to throw something. I’d love to take questions, but I see that the lunch rush is starting. Please bus your own trays.