Spreads its reassuring balm,
Like oil upon our troubled waters,
Throughout the corporate headquarters;
And soothes away our worried frowns,
Across the business ups and downs,
With words of fatherly good cheer,
For fifty-one weeks of the year.
But, sometime in the fifty-second,
On past experience, we’ve reckoned,
Even he will fall, instead,
Victim to some inner dread;
And brood upon the now impending
Prospect of the fiscal ending
And his ritualistic beating
At the Annual General Meeting.
With negligible dividends,
The annual event portends
A day of unremitting terror,
And pained acknowledgement of error;
When pension-funds and institutions
Exact their yearly retributions,
And vitriolic widows brandish
Their share-certificates in anguish.
While some, with well-rehearsed finesse,
And eyes upon the watching press,
Will make pejorative assessments
Of recent overseas investments;
Or use their half-a-dozen shares
To catch the Chairman unawares,
Enough to give the Board the vapours
When they read tomorrow’s papers.
And how the shareholders will treasure
Their annual sadistic pleasure,
Or revel in this King of sports –
Delaying corporate reports –
Until, the final insult parried,
The annual report is carried!
And, off to gin and tonics boasting,
Oh, what a lovely chairman’s roasting!
While he, poor soul, his torment ended,
Or for another year suspended,
A double-brandy on the shelf,
Is visibly his former self!
And offers, to relieve the tension,
In words I wouldn’t care to mention,
A few, well-chosen apothegms
On shareholders and A.G.M.s.