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Is protecting the share price a CEO’s main job?

“A different CEO [than Mark Zuckerberg] would have no business thinking his job was anything other than protecting [Facebook’s] share price,” says edit­or­ial­ist Holman Jenkins of The Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall).

If the efficient-market hypo­the­sis is correct — that is, if a company’s stock price is a proxy statistic that successfully incorporates all publicly-available information about the company’s existing business and future prospects — then the stock price should indeed be a good overall indicator of the CEO’s performance. That seems like a pretty big if, though, because the efficient-market hypothesis is not without its critics.

Commenter Richard Luettgen offers a different perspective:

Whyever [sic] would you establish as the premise of this piece that Zuckerberg is in any kind of trouble? And a minor premise that a CEO’s legitimate role is ONLY to protect the share price? That minor premise is merely the balderdash instilled in this and the last generations’ B-school graduates, many of whom have risen by now to policy-making roles in large corporations.

There was a time that CEOs focused on bringing sustainable value to CUSTOMERS, assured that if they were to do so, stockholders also would benefit, as would other legitimate stakeholders, such as employees and the community at large. …

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