Business / Companies

Super Bowls and fine wines: Document describes world of Dow CEO

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-09-25 09:48

Running a Fortune 500 company is a high-pressure occupation. But as documents from Dow Chemical Co suggest, the CEO job can offer some luxuries as well.

Dow's Andrew Liveris has had the company arrange Super Bowl getaways and other trips for himself, family and friends. According to an internal report, Liveris went on to instruct an aide, in January 2010, not to inform a group of Dow customers invited to that year's Super Bowl that he too would be there.

"Please tell no-one I am going like always," Liveris wrote to Robert Long, former head of Dow's Customer Events Department.

Long reassured Liveris the same day, the report says: "As always-no one knows your schedule and I have your tickets on the opposite side of the stadium from the customer tickets. You are not attending any of the same events that any of the Dow customers are attending."

Dow also bought $90,000 worth of a prized Australian wine, some that cost more than $460 a bottle, the report says. One case went to the CEO's house. Liveris also once had three bottles sent to one of his son's teachers.

These are among the scenes from the world of the 61-year-old CEO, as portrayed in a 29-page report prepared by a Dow internal investigator.

A Dow spokeswoman said that Liveris didn't avoid clients at Super Bowls or other events. It had no comment on the large wine purchase or the gift to the teacher.

In May, Reuters reported that Dow internal watchdogs had months-long standoff with the CEO over his expenses. The newly released documents give a granular look at some of the spending at issue. They also offer insight into the rich resources available to the CEO of a major multinational.

Produced in June 2010 by internal investigator Kimberly Wood, the report was released by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

In February, Dow settled a lawsuit filed by Wood. She claimed she was fired in 2013 after conducting inquiries into spending by Liveris. Dow says her job was eliminated and she voluntarily sought a retirement package.

The Wood report is now among thousands of pages of records subpoenaed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Reuters reported in June that the SEC is investigating allegations that Liveris may have misused company funds for personal benefit.

Dow disclosed in 2011 that Liveris had reimbursed the company $719,923 for expenses described as "not primarily business related".

The Wood report cites emails in which Liveris told subordinates that he intended to pay for certain trips. Her report finds that Long's Customer Events Department, which handled the arrangements, misclassified some of the CEO's expenses and failed to bill him properly. In response to her findings, Dow hired outside lawyers, Liveris made the reimbursement, and the sum was disclosed to shareholders. Dow says the CEO did nothing wrong and that there have been no problems with his expenses.

Among the events Wood examined were Super Bowl weekends the CEO held with "family and friends" in 2008, 2009 and 2010. For several years, Dow hosted top customers and executives at the National Football League's championship game.

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