The Origins of Shareholder Advocacy
New Haven, Conn., September 22, 2009 – Corporate executives are paying themselves bloated bonuses while they squander shareowner value; a crony board of directors refuses to pay investors dividends and is keeping key financial accounts secret; the firm’s stock price is plummeting. No, this story isn’t from today’s financial crisis; it comes from the year 1609, and these are among the complaints that investor Isaac Le Maire lodged against the Dutch East India Company, the world’s first publicly traded corporation. On January 24, 1609, Le Maire filed a petition against the company, marking the first recorded expression of shareholder activism.
To mark the 400th anniversary of shareholder advocacy, the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at the Yale School of Management will host the "Origins of Shareholder Advocacy" conference on the Yale campus in New Haven on November 6-7, 2009. To register, go to http://millstein.som.yale.edu/Project_400.shtml.
"The story of Le Maire and the Dutch East India Company in 1609 sounds all too familiar in 2009," says Ira Millstein, Senior Associate Dean for Corporate Governance at the Yale School of Management. "Four hundred years later, there are lessons to be learned by looking back at that event and others like it throughout history. We can gain insights to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over."
International scholars in financial history, corporate governance, economics, law, organizational behavior, and political science will present original research that explores the origins and historical development of shareholder advocacy and its relevance to corporate governance today. Presentations will trace centuries of shareholder activism around the world including in the United States, China, England, Italy and the Netherlands. The parade of scandals won’t be pretty. Scholars will be highlighting accounts of fraud, corporate mismanagement, whistleblowers, government bailouts, regulation, excessive CEO pay, short-selling, and shareholder revolt that will give new perspective on present day capital markets.
The conference is presented with support by from IRRC Institute and APG, the asset management firm owned by ABP, the Dutch civil service pension system. The conference chair is Jonathan Koppell, Associate Professor of Politics and Management, Yale SOM.
Members of the press are invited to attend. Please RSVP in advance to Tabitha Wilde, Yale School of Management, at 1+ 203.432.6010 or email@example.com.
About the Millstein Center
The Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at the Yale School of Management is a leading global resource for testing, challenging and advancing the premise that corporations should and can serve society. The Center focuses on the inter-relationship of management, the board of directors, shareholders, and stakeholders in creating long-term corporate shareholder value in today’s complex and competitive economy, while at the same time meeting the heightened expectations of society. The Center pursues its mission by convening events; sponsoring empirical research; generating policy briefings; building market capacity by developing training, databases and institutions; and teaching and student interaction. For more information about the Millstein Center, please visit: http://millstein.som.yale.edu/.