Elson to lead blue ribbon panel of leaders in corporate governance study
Charles Elson


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1:12 p.m., June 7, 2010----The John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance and Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center, were recently awarded a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to establish a nonpartisan expert group to study the roles of boards of directors in corporate governance and generate a report containing findings and recommendations on board practices.

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The grant was co-awarded to the University of Delaware and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, whose efforts were led by Glenn Hubbard, dean and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics and former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

The group, co-chaired by Elson and Hubbard, was put together with Frank Zarb, former chairman and CEO of Smith Barney, NASDAQ and “Energy Czar” in the Ford Administration.

The blue ribbon panel of leaders includes Paul O'Neill, senior adviser and consultant to The Blackstone Group and former secretary of the U.S. Treasury; William T. Allen, director of New York University's Pollack Center for Law and Business and former chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery; Damon Silvers, associate general counsel and head of corporate governance for AFL-CIO; David Becker, SEC general counsel; and former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt.

Also working with Elson, participating in the group and managing the grant processes is Roger Coffin, associate director of the Weinberg Center.

Following the precedents set by the National Association of Corporate Directors Blue Ribbon Commission on Director Professionalism and the reports of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, the group proposes to address the role of boards of directors as representatives of shareholders' interests by providing an outside analysis that will contribute both to business understanding and to the current policy debates.

The group recently held its first meeting, at which time they discussed their goals, areas for examination, the scope of recommendations and a timeline.

Additional group members who will participate in the study include: Richard I. Beattie, chairman of Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett LLP; Kenneth Daly, president of the National Association of Corporate Directors; Richard Daly, chief executive officer of Broadridge; Jon F. Hanson, chairman of The Hampshire Companies; Olivia Kirtley, director of Alderwoods Group, Papa John's Pizza and U.S. Bancorp, and former chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Eugene Ludwig, chief executive officer of Promontory Financial Group; Reuben Mark, former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Colgate-Palmolive Company; David W. Smith, president and chief executive officer of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, Inc.; E. Norman Veasey, senior partner of Weil, Gotshal and Manges and former chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court; Paul F. Washington, chairman of the board of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, Inc., and senior vice president, deputy general counsel and secretary of Time Warner, Inc.; Ralph Whitworth, founder and principal of Relational Investors LLC; and Deborah C. Wright, chief executive officer of Carver Federal Savings Bank.

Established in 2000 in the Lerner College of Business and Economics, the vision of the Weinberg Center is to study and advance progressive changes in corporate structure and management through education and interaction. The Weinberg Center provides a forum for business leaders, members of corporate boards, the legal community, academics, practitioners, graduate and undergraduate students, and others interested in corporate governance issues to meet, interact, learn and teach.

John D. Rockefeller, Sr., established the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913 with the mission of promoting the well being of humanity around the world. To that end, the foundation supports work that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health and environmental challenges. It operates both within the U.S. and around the world under the administration of an independent board of trustees and management by its president through a leadership team representing scholarly, scientific and professional disciplines.

Article by Kathryn Ann Marrone
Photo by Evan Krape