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

11 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2005

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The paper discusses to what extent Parmalat's failure can be considered a particularly Italian case. The main characteristics of Parmalat's corporate governance structure are 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 lack of a monitoring structure in making corporate insiders accountable in the presence of a corporate governance system characterised 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 a 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.

JEL Classification: M41, M43, M47, G34, M49

Suggested Citation

Melis, Andrea, Corporate Governance Failures: To What Extent is Parmalat a Particularly Italian Case?. Corporate Governance: An International Review, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 478-488, July 2005, Available at SSRN:

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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