CEO and Investor

“Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer” George Santayana

As we get deeper into earnings season, company management are busy with analyst calls and investor roadshows.  Just like politicians, experienced management teams have become very adept at knowing exactly what to say to please investors for another quarter.  The result often feels like a very sanitized and pre-packaged version of the truth.  An experienced investor needs to understand when the wool is being pulled over their eyes – and to dig a little deeper.

After years of taking management meetings, you begin to recognize the tell-tale signs of something that’s slightly off.  Below I take a look at some of my favorite set phrases from CEOs – and the real meaning that often lies behind them.

What Management Say What They Mean
There were some timing issues around the quarter end We weren’t able to rush the sale through before the quarter end
We take a long term view I’m already wondering if we’ll make next quarter’s numbers
On an adjusted basis, we came in ahead of our guidance I moved some stuff around so that we came in ahead of our guidance
We are in a very price-sensitive environment Despite massive discounts, customers still aren’t buying
We “reinvested” our cost savings into price Prices fell so we had to cut costs as a result
While we feel there is no substance to the class action, we conservatively provisioned for it. The auditor forced my hand
The customer is becoming much more sophisticated and demanding They’re not buying any more of our crap product
I’m committed to this company long-term My options don’t vest until 2017
We are lapping some tough comparisons Nobody is buying any more of our crap product
Our balance sheet has never been stronger We’re about to go bankrupt
There was a mix issue that impacted margins I have no idea why margins moved by 20bp, so stop asking
We are expanding our footprint into Kazakhstan, where the market for x is very underserved How you like me now…?
Great question… Why did you have to ask that…?
We have a first mover advantage Our competitors are waiting to see if we fail before following us into this market
We are number one in the Russian market Because everybody else gave up and went home
Conversations with our largest shareholders suggest they support our strategy Nobody supports our strategy
We expect this acquisition will be accretive to EPS in year 3 You will have forgotten this acquisition in year 3
This deal has strategic importance This deal doesn’t make any sense however you look at it
We are pioneers in the field of “big data” I just heard about “big data” and I’m hoping to add a P/E point to our share price
It’s been a challenging year I just want my options to vest
I’m confident we will make our guidance I’ve never been more scared in my life
I look forward to seeing you again next quarter I wish you would all die

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Great post, really funny! (Damn, I wish I’d written that 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nice one Tom

    another way to interpret ‘great question’ is ‘amazing….our IR have prepped us for this question extensively and here’s my slick answer….’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Paul! Haha..yes great question = I have a great answer!


  4. […] Beevers over at Stockviews [1], who’s more entertaining than us, and more cynical, has compiled a handy list of things CEOs […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Blog Post


, , ,