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Getting harder for public companies to compete, American Century CEO says

American Century CEO on governance practices
American Century CEO on governance practices

Public companies are under a level of pressure that makes it increasingly difficult for them to compete, American Century Investments CEO Jonathan Thomas said Thursday.

"It's one of the reasons you're seeing fewer and fewer companies going public over the years, and more and more companies staying private," he said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"In fact, a lot of companies come out as mega caps because they stay private so long."

Thomas' comments come on the heels of the revelation that Warren Buffett, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon and other top CEOs held secret meetings about the sorry state of public companies.

The group issued a report Thursday that stressed the importance of corporate governance.

"Our future depends on these companies being managed effectively for long-term prosperity, which is why the governance of American companies is so important to every American," the report said. "Corporate governance in recent years has often been an area of intense debate among investors, corporate leaders and other stakeholders. Yet, too often, that debate has generated more heat than light."

Thomas said good governance practice has come into vogue increasingly over the last years in terms of investing, both for institutional investors and retail investors.

"The statistics show that organizations with good governance practice, whether it's diverse boards or better disclosure actually perform better over the long term," he said.

Despite the pressures for public companies, he believes corporate America is doing quite well.

And when it comes to the stock market, Thomas thinks it is fully valued — but certainly not heading toward a crash.

"The U.S. stock market and economy are in a good spot," said Thomas.