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Full-Text Articles in Law

Why Not A Ceo Term Limit?, Charles K. Whitehead May 2011

Why Not A Ceo Term Limit?, Charles K. Whitehead

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In this Essay, I ask: Why not require a mandatory CEO term limit? My purpose is not to propose a term limit, but rather to ask why CEO term limits are out-of-bounds – not addressed within the corporate governance scholarship – when they have long been advocated for directors and, more recently, public company auditors.

The traditional answer has been that CEOs are agents of the corporation, subject to control by the board, which holds primary responsibility for the firm’s business and affairs. Senior officers are largely shielded from outside interference, permitting them to execute consistent, long-term business strategies under board ...


Derivatives And The Legal Origin Of The 2008 Credit Crisis, Lynn A. Stout Apr 2011

Derivatives And The Legal Origin Of The 2008 Credit Crisis, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Experts still debate what caused the credit crisis of 2008. This Article argues that dubious honor belongs, first and foremost, to a little-known statute called the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA). Put simply, the credit crisis was not primarily due to changes in the markets; it was due to changes in the law. In particular, the crisis was the direct and foreseeable (and in fact foreseen by the author and others) consequence of the CFMA’s sudden and wholesale removal of centuries-old legal constraints on speculative trading in over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives.

Derivative contracts are probabilistic bets on future ...


Sandbagging: Default Rules And Acquisition Agreements, Charles K. Whitehead Jan 2011

Sandbagging: Default Rules And Acquisition Agreements, Charles K. Whitehead

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In the M&A world, a buyer "sandbags" a seller when, knowing the seller has materially breached a warranty, it closes the deal and then asserts a post-closing claim. Traditionally, the buyer must have relied on the warranty, without knowledge of the breach, in order to prevail. The modern trend, with some exceptions, permits the buyer to sue without regard to knowledge. Parties, in both cases, can contract around the default rule--so that the default rule should affect how acquisition agreements are structured. Yet, a survey of publicly available deals, from July 2007 to June 2011, reveals that--regardless of default ...