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Corporate governance

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Full-Text Articles in Law

A Settlement In Crisis: How In Re Opioid Litigation Fails To Put People Before Corporations, Gabrielle Hunter Jan 2023

A Settlement In Crisis: How In Re Opioid Litigation Fails To Put People Before Corporations, Gabrielle Hunter

Emory Corporate Governance and Accountability Review Perspectives

Since 1999, 932,000 people in the United States have died from a drug overdose. In 2021 alone over 100,000 people died from a drug overdose. Seventy-eight percent of those overdoses involved opioids. As the opioid epidemic has torn families apart and decimated American communities, the natural response is to find someone to blame. State and local governments, Native-American tribes, labor unions, insurance companies, hospitals, and individuals have all pointed the finger at the same culprits: opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The result—over 3,000 state and local governments alongside Native American tribes joined In Re Opiate Litigation, a multidistrict litigation, alleging …


Activism By Any Other Name: Stakeholder Capitalism, Esg, And Political Pushback, Kameron St Clare Jan 2023

Activism By Any Other Name: Stakeholder Capitalism, Esg, And Political Pushback, Kameron St Clare

Emory Corporate Governance and Accountability Review Perspectives

In recent years, Stakeholder Capitalism and ESG have become widely used terms not only in corporate board rooms, but in media commentary more generally. As their use and influence in practice have both grown, so, too, has the pushback from opponents of these values-based norms for the way the world does business. Indeed, in recent months, numerous Republican-led states, like Texas, have taken more substantive actions designed to thwart the actions and aims of ESG- and stakeholder capitalism-oriented corporations and investment funds. But what, exactly, do these terms mean? And where do these terms come from? Moreover, what’s all the …


Limited Shareholder Inspection Rights In Singapore: Worrying Legal Gap Or Unnecessary For Rankings?, Dan W. Puchniak, Tang Samantha S. Dec 2022

Limited Shareholder Inspection Rights In Singapore: Worrying Legal Gap Or Unnecessary For Rankings?, Dan W. Puchniak, Tang Samantha S.

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

Singapore’s formal corporate law and governance rules normally meet or exceed global standards – which explains why it regularly tops prominent Asian and global rankings for good corporate governance. As such, Singapore’s outlier status, as the only leading economy in Asia that does not provide a specific mechanism for shareholders to access corporate information, is puzzling.In this Article we aim to solve this puzzle by offering two explanations that appear to make sense out of Singapore’s outlier status as having an unusually restrictive shareholder inspection rights regime. The first, demand-side, explanation is that Singapore’s controlling shareholder-dominated landscape generates little demand …


A Proposed Sec Cyber Data Disclosure Advisory Commission, Lawrence J. Trautman, Neal Newman Oct 2022

A Proposed Sec Cyber Data Disclosure Advisory Commission, Lawrence J. Trautman, Neal Newman

Faculty Scholarship

Constant cyber threats result in: intellectual property loss; data disruption; ransomware attacks; theft of valuable company intellectual property and sensitive customer information. During March 2022, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a proposed rule addressing Cybersecurity Risk Management, Strategy, Governance, and Incident Disclosure, which requires: 1. Current reporting about material cybersecurity incidents; 2. Periodic disclosures about a registrant’s policies and procedures to identify and manage cybersecurity risks; 3. Management’s role in implementing cybersecurity policies and procedures; 4. Board of directors’ cybersecurity expertise, if any, and its oversight of cybersecurity risk; 5. Registrants to provide updates about previously reported cybersecurity …


Purpose Proposals, Jill E. Fisch Sep 2022

Purpose Proposals, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Repurposing the corporation is the hot issue in corporate governance. Commentators, investors and increasingly issuers, maintain that corporations should shift their focus from maximizing profits for shareholders to generating value for a more expansive group of stakeholders. Corporations are also being called upon to address societal concerns – from climate change and voting rights to racial justice and wealth inequality.

The shareholder proposal rule, Rule 14a–8, offers one potential tool for repurposing the corporation. This Article describes the introduction of innovative proposals seeking to formalize corporate commitments to stakeholder governance. These “purpose proposals” reflect a new dynamic in the debate …


Big Three Power, And Why It Matters, Scott Hirst, Lucian Bebchuk Sep 2022

Big Three Power, And Why It Matters, Scott Hirst, Lucian Bebchuk

Faculty Scholarship

This Article focuses on the power and corporate governance significance of the three largest index fund managers commonly referred to collectively as the “Big Three.” We present current evidence on the substantial voting power of the Big Three and explain why it is likely to persist and, indeed, further grow. We show that, due to their voting power, the Big Three have considerable influence on corporate outcomes through both what they do and what they fail to do. We also discuss the Big Three’s undesirable incentives both to underinvest in stewardship and to be excessively deferential to corporate managers.

In …


Stress Testing Governance, Rory Van Loo Mar 2022

Stress Testing Governance, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

In their efforts to guard against the world’s greatest threats, administrative agencies and businesses have in recent years increasingly used stress tests. Stress tests simulate doomsday scenarios to ensure that the organization is prepared to respond. For example, agencies role-played a deadly pandemic spreading from China to the United States the year before COVID-19, acted out responses to a hypothetical hurricane striking New Orleans months before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, and required banks to model their ability to withstand a recession prior to the economic downturn of 2020. But too often these exercises have failed to significantly improve readiness …


Initial Public Offering And Optimal Corporate Governance, Albert H. Choi Feb 2022

Initial Public Offering And Optimal Corporate Governance, Albert H. Choi

Law & Economics Working Papers

This paper examines the long-standing debate over whether firms have a market-based incentive to adopt optimal governance provisions at their initial public offering (IPO). Various scholars and practitioners have argued that firms that offer stock to the public with suboptimal governance structure will be penalized by the market through a lower IPO price. At the same time, others have documented empirical evidence that many IPO firms have putatively suboptimal governance provisions, such as anti-takeover provisions and dual class structure, and many, especially those with dual-class structure, enjoy a market premium at their IPO. This paper attempts to bridge this gap. …


Emergency Bylaws: An Underutilized Tool For Corporate Operation During An Emergency, Grace Myers Feb 2022

Emergency Bylaws: An Underutilized Tool For Corporate Operation During An Emergency, Grace Myers

William & Mary Business Law Review

Emergency bylaws are an underutilized tool for corporate governance whose importance has been highlighted by COVID-19. Emergency bylaws can be included within corporations’ bylaws and only operate during an “emergency” as defined by state statutes. These provisions usually give boards more agency to act during an emergency through mechanisms such as looser quorum and notice requirements. These provisions will be increasingly important during future pandemics, wars, and global warming. However, few corporations have these bylaws, and the current hodgepodge of state statutes hinders their adoption. The current state of emergency bylaws regulation and implementation raises some questions about shareholder rights …


Corporate Governance Reform And The Sustainability Imperative, Christopher Bruner Feb 2022

Corporate Governance Reform And The Sustainability Imperative, Christopher Bruner

Scholarly Works

Recent years have witnessed a significant upsurge of interest in alternatives to shareholder-centric corporate governance, driven by a growing sustainability imperative—widespread recognition that business as usual, despite the short-term returns generated, could undermine social and economic stability and even threaten our long-term survival if we fail to grapple with associated costs. We remain poorly positioned to assess corporate governance reform options, however, because prevailing theoretical lenses effectively cabin the terms of the debate in ways that obscure many of the most consequential possibilities. According to prevailing frameworks, our options essentially amount to board-versus-shareholder power, and shareholder-versus stakeholder purpose. This narrow …


Why Corporate Purpose Will Always Matter, Lyman P.Q. Johnson Jan 2022

Why Corporate Purpose Will Always Matter, Lyman P.Q. Johnson

Scholarly Articles

Business persons and lawyers (and law professors) perennially struggle over the question whether a business corporation does or should have a purpose other than advancing the interests of shareholders. After briefly setting the stage by describing the dispute over what the positive law of corporate purpose really is and the normative argument over what corporate purpose should be, this short article takes a different turn. It addresses why, in a dynamic, democratic, pluralist society, the foundational issue of corporate purpose remains so important and will not (and should not) go away. However adamantly divergent descriptive and prescriptive positions are held, …


Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2022

Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Corporate law has embraced private ordering -- tailoring a firm’s corporate governance to meet its individual needs. Firms are increasingly adopting firm-specific governance through dual-class voting structures, forum selection provisions and tailored limitations on the duty of loyalty. Courts have accepted these provisions as consistent with the contractual theory of the firm, and statutes, in many cases, explicitly endorse their use. Commentators too support private ordering for its capacity to facilitate innovation and enhance efficiency.

Private ordering typically occurs through firm-specific charter and bylaw provisions. VC-funded startups, however, frequently use an alternative tool – shareholder agreements. These agreements, which have …


Non-Profit Organizations Should Prioritize Governance In Board Selection Decisions—Those That Prioritize Money May Pay Too Much, Heidi Grunwald, Daniel Isaacs Jan 2022

Non-Profit Organizations Should Prioritize Governance In Board Selection Decisions—Those That Prioritize Money May Pay Too Much, Heidi Grunwald, Daniel Isaacs

Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law

Non-profit corporations must comply with federal tax laws, and their governing bodies must satisfy corporation law-based duties, but they are not subject to the regulatory requirements of publicly traded corporations. This discrepancy should be troubling, because the stakeholders of non-profit organizations are far more vulnerable than the typical investor. Accordingly, non-profit boards have a particularly strong need for good governance. However, our research shows that non-profit board members believe that board selection procedures prioritize giving over the ability to attract and retain members with attributes commonly associated with good governance. To address this problem, we argue that laws should require …


The Long-Term Effects Of Short Selling And Negative Activism, Peter Molk, Frank Partnoy Jan 2022

The Long-Term Effects Of Short Selling And Negative Activism, Peter Molk, Frank Partnoy

UF Law Faculty Publications

We investigate the long-term effects of short selling and “negative activism,” where activists seek to profit from declines in the share prices of targeted firms. We show that negative activism is associated with significant and declining long-term share returns and operating performance, as well as an increase in securities litigation and regulatory actions against targeted firms. We explore the policy implications of this new evidence, including ways that policy makers and market participants might take advantage of the potential benefits of short selling negative activism. Our message is straightforward: resist impulses to curb short selling, and instead embrace attempts to …


A Duty To Diversify, Anat Alon-Beck, Darren Rosenblum, Michal Agmon-Gonnen Jan 2022

A Duty To Diversify, Anat Alon-Beck, Darren Rosenblum, Michal Agmon-Gonnen

Faculty Publications

Fiduciary duties reflect the central role of leaders in corporate governance. Those with the most responsibility benefit the most from corporate success, but also bear commensurate fiduciary responsibilities. Equality, diversity, and inclusion may seem an odd fit among other fiduciary duties. However, fiduciary duties are where governance imposes the burden of “doing the right thing.” Fiduciary duties involve normatively good behavior that proves essential to ensuring responsible decision-making and achieving positive outcomes for firms.

Corporate law allows, encourages and perhaps, today, even mandates, corporate leaders to do the right thing. Not only does it seem appropriate to ask corporate leaders, …


The Diversity Risk Paradox, Veronica Root Martinez Jan 2022

The Diversity Risk Paradox, Veronica Root Martinez

Faculty Scholarship

There is a growing body of literature discussing the proper role of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts by and within public firms. A combination of forces brought renewed energy to this topic over the past few years. The #MeToo movement demonstrated a whole host of inequities faced by women within workplaces. Business Roundtable’s 2019 Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation rejected the view that the purpose of the corporation was solely to be focused on the maximization of shareholder wealth. And, in 2020, the murder of George Floyd ignited a racial reckoning within the United States, which prompted many …


Board Gatekeepers, Yaron G. Nili Jan 2022

Board Gatekeepers, Yaron G. Nili

Emory Law Journal

For the last decade, investors, scholars, and regulators have turned to independent directors in key leadership positions as a means to safeguard corporate boards’ ability to serve as a robust check on management’s power. As a result, a vast majority of public companies’ boards are now led by an Independent Chair, or, alternatively, include a Lead Independent Director.

These ostensible outsiders—which this Article calls “board gatekeepers”— are meant to be even more empowered and detached from management compared to the rest of the board. This allows them to serve an independent gatekeeping function—a necessary guardrail against management’s ability to exert …


Racial Rhetoric Or Reality? Cautious Optimism On The Link Between Corporate #Blm Speech And Behavior, Lisa Fairfax Jan 2022

Racial Rhetoric Or Reality? Cautious Optimism On The Link Between Corporate #Blm Speech And Behavior, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

The summer of 2022 marks the two-year anniversary of the dramatic rekindling of the #BlackLivesMatter movement because of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other unarmed Black people at the hands of police. The summer of 2020 saw cities in the United States and around the world erupt in protest, with calls to dismantle racist policies and practices both in the criminal system and within the broader society, with a particular emphasis on policies and practices impacting Black people. The summer of 2022 also marks the two-year anniversary of the visible and somewhat surprising avalanche of corporate statements …


Stakeholderism, Corporate Purpose, And Credible Commitment, Lisa Fairfax Jan 2022

Stakeholderism, Corporate Purpose, And Credible Commitment, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

One of the most significant recent phenomena in corporate governance is the embrace, by some of the most influential actors in the corporate community, of the view that corporations should be focused on furthering the interests of all corporate stakeholders as well as the broader society. This stakeholder vision of corporate purpose is not new. Instead, it has emerged in cycles throughout corporate law history. However, for much of that history—including recent history—the consensus has been that stakeholderism has not achieved dominance or otherwise significantly influenced corporate behavior. That honor is reserved for the corporate purpose theory that focuses on …


Monitoring Facebook, Hillary A. Sale Jan 2022

Monitoring Facebook, Hillary A. Sale

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Few companies still in business have a track record as negative as Facebook. Facebook has paid billions of dollars in government fines and paid hundreds of millions in private settlements. Yet, the financial penalties are actually minimal relative to the harm done. Facebook seems to have been involved one way or another in privacy breaches, organized crime, election manipulation, suicide, and even genocide. Mark Zuckerberg, who still controls Facebook, appears to ignore the consequences of his choices, seemingly prioritizing profits over people. He appears to disregard the law and operate without integrity or honesty, excommunicating insiders who speak out or …


In Re The Walt Disney Co. Derivative Litigation Rewritten, Hillary A. Sale Jan 2022

In Re The Walt Disney Co. Derivative Litigation Rewritten, Hillary A. Sale

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In re The Walt Disney Co. Derivative Litigation is notable for upholding the broad latitude courts afford to boards through the business judgment rule. The case addressed a $130 million termination package delivered to former Disney CEO, Michael Ovitz, after fourteen months of underperformance at the company. This rewritten opinion, to be published in “Feminist Judgements: Rewritten Corporate Law,” (Kelli Alces Williams, Anne Choike, & Usha R. Rodrigues, eds.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming 2022), follows the style of the Delaware Supreme Court and reaches the same outcome with a different approach. The opinion expounds on the corporate governance practices in …


The Landscape Of Startup Corporate Governance In The Founder-Friendly Era, Jennifer S. Fan Jan 2022

The Landscape Of Startup Corporate Governance In The Founder-Friendly Era, Jennifer S. Fan

Articles

In corporate governance scholarship, there is an important debate about the nature and roles of the members of the board of directors in venture capital-backed private companies. The impact of a newly emerged, founder-centric model has been underappreciated, while the role of the independent director as tiebreaker or swing vote is vastly overstated. The reality is that corporate governance in these companies is a norm-driven, consensus-building process that rarely spills out into open conflict.

This is the first empirical study of startup corporate governance post-Great Recession and during the pandemic. Using survey and interview methodologies, this Article makes four primary …


Power, Primacy, And The Corporate Law Pivot, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2022

Power, Primacy, And The Corporate Law Pivot, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

As a Vice Chancellor, Chancellor, Chief Justice, and now a private citizen, Leo Strine has consistently recognized the shape of power relations within corporate law. With his wry wit and sharp prose, he has cut to the quick on issues such as director independence, shareholder rights, and the separation of ownership from ownership. Underlying these decisions are both the recognition of the underlying power dynamics at play and the pursuit of fairness under the law. As the Chief Justice has gone from lawmaker to commentator, his perspective has shifted on the role of corporate law in shaping society. Like him, …


The Banker Removal Power, Da Lin, Lev Menand Jan 2022

The Banker Removal Power, Da Lin, Lev Menand

Faculty Scholarship

The Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) can remove bankers from office if they violate the law, engage in unsafe or unsound practices, or breach their fiduciary duties. The Fed, however, has used this power so rarely that few even realize it exists. Although major U.S. banks have admitted to repeated and flagrant lawbreaking in recent years, the Fed has never removed a senior executive from one of these institutions.

This Article offers the first comprehensive account of the banker removal power. It makes four contributions. First, drawing on a range of primary sources, it recovers the power’s statutory foundations, showing that …


Shifting Influences On Corporate Governance: Capital Market Completeness And Policy Channeling, Ronald J. Gilson, Curtis J. Milhaupt Jan 2022

Shifting Influences On Corporate Governance: Capital Market Completeness And Policy Channeling, Ronald J. Gilson, Curtis J. Milhaupt

Faculty Scholarship

Corporate governance scholarship is typically portrayed as driven by single factor models, for example, shareholder value maximization, director primacy or team production. These governance models are Copernican; one factor is or should be the center of the corporate governance solar system. In this essay, we argue that, as with binary stars, the shape of the governance system is at any time the result of the interaction of two central influences, which we refer to as capital market completeness and policy channeling. In contrast to single factor models, which reflect a stable normative statement of what should drive corporate governance, in …


The Rejected Threat Of Corporate Vote Suppression: The Rise And Fall Of The Anti-Activist Pill, Jeffrey N. Gordon Jan 2022

The Rejected Threat Of Corporate Vote Suppression: The Rise And Fall Of The Anti-Activist Pill, Jeffrey N. Gordon

Faculty Scholarship

As disciplinary takeovers are replaced by activist shareholder campaigns, managements may well want to turn to the “anti-activist pill” as shelter from the storm. The economic shock from the widespread shutdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic produced dozens of so-called “crisis pills.” The defense of these pills as avoiding “disruption” and “distraction” of managements can be seen as a test run for broader use of poison pills to fend off shareholder activism. The Delaware courts, first Chancery and then the Supreme Court, rejected this managerial defense tactic in a way that clarifies the role of the poison pill in corporate …


Agents Of Inequality: Common Ownership And The Decline Of The American Worker, Zohar Goshen, Doron Levit Jan 2022

Agents Of Inequality: Common Ownership And The Decline Of The American Worker, Zohar Goshen, Doron Levit

Faculty Scholarship

The last forty years have seen two major economic trends: wages have stalled despite rising productivity, and institutional investors have replaced retail shareholders as the predominant owners of the U.S. equity markets. A few powerful institutional investors — dubbed common owners — now hold large stakes in most U.S. corporations. And in no coincidence, when U.S. workers acquired this new set of bosses, their wages stopped growing while shareholder returns increased. This Article explains how common owners shift wealth from labor to capital, thereby exacerbating income inequality.

Powerful institutional investors pushing public corporations en masse to adopt strong corporate governance …


Systemic Stewardship, Jeffrey N. Gordon Jan 2022

Systemic Stewardship, Jeffrey N. Gordon

Faculty Scholarship

This Article frames a normative theory of stewardship engagement by large institutional investors and asset managers that is congruent with their theory of investment management — “Modern Portfolio Theory” — which describes investors as attentive to both systematic risk as well as expected returns. Because investors want to maximize risk-adjusted returns, it will serve their interests for asset managers to support and sometimes advance shareholder initiatives that will reduce systematic risk. “Systematic stewardship” provides an approach to “ESG” matters that serves both investor welfare and social welfare and fits the business model of large, diversified funds, especially index funds. The …


Moby-Dick As Corporate Catastrophe: Law, Ethics, And Redemption, David Yosifon Dec 2021

Moby-Dick As Corporate Catastrophe: Law, Ethics, And Redemption, David Yosifon

Faculty Publications

Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick serves here as a vehicle through which to interrogate core features of American corporate law and excavate some of the deeper lessons about the human soul that lurk behind the pasteboard mask of the law’s black letter. The inquiry yields an illuminating vantage on the ethical consequences of corporate capital structure, the law of corporate purpose, the meaning of voluntarism, the ethical stakes of corporate fiduciary obligations, and the role of lawyers in preventing or facilitating corporate catastrophe. No prior familiarity with the novel or corporate law is required.


Securities Law: Overview And Contemporary Issues, Neal Newman, Lawrence J. Trautman Dec 2021

Securities Law: Overview And Contemporary Issues, Neal Newman, Lawrence J. Trautman

Faculty Scholarship

This is not your grandfather’s SEC anymore. Rapid technological change has resulted in novel regulatory issues and challenges, as law and policy struggles to keep pace. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports that “the U.S. capital markets are the deepest, most dynamic, and most liquid in the world. They also have evolved to become increasingly fast and extraordinarily complex. It is our job to be responsive and innovative in the face of significant market developments and trends.” With global markets increasingly interdependent and interconnected and, “as technological advancements and commercial developments have changed how our securities markets operate, …