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May 30, 2008 10:16 AM Age: 9 yrs

Accountability -- and A Powerful Investor’s Perspective

Category: Eleanor Bloxham, CG Commentary & Opinion, SA Commentary & Opinion, Proxy 08 Commentary
Source:  Eleanor Bloxham

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The issue of whether to separate the Chair and CEO jobs, a particularly US conundrum, causes wonderment and bewilderment from those in the UK and elsewhere, where separation of the roles is common. Currently, however, only 12.6% of companies in the S&P 500 have independent Chairs, according to The Corporate Library. Whether this will change very much over the next few years is hard to say as again this year, for a second straight year, in a closely watched vote, Exxon shareholders rejected 60/40 a separation of the Chair and CEO jobs at the company.

That issue aside, however, the globalization of investor activism is undeniable -- and Robert A.G. Monks, an admirer of UK governance, who also happens to be both the co-founder of The Corporate Library and a prominent Exxon shareholder activist, stands squarely in the center of it all. 

Mr. Monk’s most recent book is Corpocracy , which provides a unique inside look into today’s governance issues and the first-hand perspectives from this powerful international shareholder activist on topics which include his views on:

  • How annual meetings operate .
  • The major issues in executive compensation and shareholder rights today.
  • What activist shareholders are thinking and doing behind the scenes – and the impacts they’ve had.
  • The attempts to measure corporate governance.
  • The influence of businesses and CEOs in the economy today, including the history behind that influence.
  • The evolving and respective roles of business, government, and the US stock exchanges.

As those in corporate governance circles know, Mr. Monk’s influence extends not only to LENS, the activist fund he founded, but also to many other international shareholder groups and influencers as well, including ISS (Institutional Shareholder Services) now part of Risk Metrics, The Corporate Library, and Governance for Owners -- all of which he also founded or co-founded. Governance for Owners, which is “dedicated to adding long-term shareholder value for clients by exercising owners’ rights” works to equip shareholders world-wide with the tools they need to actively engage.

In Corpocracy, Mr. Monks provides perspectives that whether you are a director, investor, executive,   policy maker, or simply a student of corporate history, you will want to understand.  I recommend you read it, discuss it and then use it as a springboard to create meaningful dialogue and actions that will build a Bridge of Trust™.

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Eleanor Bloxham is a strategic governance and valuation authority, advisor to companies and boards, and CEO of The Value Alliance (www.thevaluealliance.com) and Corporate Governance Alliance. She is author of the books Economic Value Management and Value-led Organizations, and the video library Conversations that Build a Bridge of TrustÔ , and she welcomes your comments at ebloxham@thevaluealliance.com

Comments Copyright © 2008 The Value Alliance Company. All rights reserved

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