Corporate Governance Failures. To What Extent is Parmalat a Particularly Italian Case?

29 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2004

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 30, 2004


The paper has discussed to what extent the Parmalat is to be considered as a particularly Italian case. The main characteristics of Parmalat's corporate governance structure have been compared and contrasted with those prevailing among Italian listed companies, as well as with the highest corporate governance standards in Italy. Empirical evidence seems to confirm the lacks of the monitoring structure in making corporate insiders accountable in presence of a corporate governance system characterized by a controlling shareholder. The role of the ownership and control structure (with special regard to the controlling shareholder's role) and of the board of statutory auditors have Italian traits and might suggest that the Parmalat case is particularly Italian scandal. However, Italian corporate governance standards were not completely at fault in the Parmalat case. Parmalat's corporate governance structure failed to comply with some of the key existing Italian corporate governance standards of best practice, such as the presence of independent directors and the composition of the internal control committee. Besides, the role of the external auditor, as well as the internal control committee as non-effective monitors seem to put Parmalat into the global argument case, not very different, mutatis mutandis, from other corporate scandals.

Keywords: Corporate governance, false accounting, Parmalat, Italy, Europe, auditing, board of statutory auditors, audit committee, blockholder, code of best practice, fraud

JEL Classification: G30, G34, M40, M41, M49, M43, K22

Suggested Citation

Melis, Andrea, Corporate Governance Failures. To What Extent is Parmalat a Particularly Italian Case? (September 30, 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Andrea Melis (Contact Author)

University of Cagliari ( email )

Dipartimento di Scienze economiche ed aziendali
Viale S. Ignazio 17
Cagliari, 09123
+39-070-6753302 (Phone)
+39-070-6753321 (Fax)


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