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More than unprecedented: A shareholder-stakeholder smackdown

In the fifth episode of Columbia Law's new limited podcast series hosted by Professor Eric Talley, corporate governance experts Ira M. Millstein and Leo E. Strine Jr. discuss how companies need to start, their people and theirs To assess environmental impact as highly as its shareholders in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

The belief that a company's ultimate purpose is to maximize profits for its shareholders was first articulated by economist Milton Friedman. Now the COVID-19 pandemic, the racial justice movement and the climate crisis are all increasing demands on companies to focus on employee well-being, social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Can companies please both shareholders and shareholders?

In the fifth episode of More than unprecedented: the post-pandemic economy , Eric Talley hosts a meeting with corporate governance experts Ira M. Millstein and Leo E. Strine Jr. to discuss the history of shareholder primacy, the source of pressure on public companies to raise stock prices, and the role of government in the process Realignment to discuss corporate priorities.

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(Download a transcript.)

Stay tuned for new episodes of More than unprecedented this autumn. Subscribe and learn more about the series.

Meet the experts

Ira M. Millstein'49 is the founding chair of the Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School and the author of The Activist Director: Lessons from the Boardroom and the Future of the Company . He is also a senior partner at the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where he works in the areas of state regulation and antitrust law and advises board members on corporate governance issues.

What did the corporate community do with the handouts received? They bought back stocks. You haven't invested in the future.
—Ira M. Millstein '49

Leo E. Strine Jr. is Of Counsel in the corporate division of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Prior to joining the firm, he served as Chairman of the Delaware Supreme Court from 2014 to 2019, where he authored hundreds of opinions in the areas of corporate law, contract law, trusts and estates, criminal law, administrative law, and constitutional law. He is the Ira M. Millstein Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Millstein Center.

If you don't pay everyone a living wage, you are not doing what you should be doing about racial inequality.
- Leo E. Strine Jr.

Eric Talley , Isidor and Sevilla Sulzbacher Professor of Law, writes and researches at the interface between corporate law, governance and finance. As co-director of the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership, Talley designs research and programs focused on the future of corporate governance and performance. Talley is a frequent commentator in the national media and speaks regularly to corporate boards of directors and regulators on issues related to fiduciary duties, governance and finance. He is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, and earned his J.D. and Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University.

We need to find a way to measure various performance characteristics within a stakeholder model. . . . It's not that difficult to do this under a shareholder-primary approach. Take a look at stock returns and you will at least have a proxy for how things are going. As soon as we include all of these other constituencies, we have at least one measurement problem.
—Professor Eric Talley

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About the series

More than unprecedented: the post-pandemic economy is edited by the Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs Office of Columbia Law School in association with the Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership.

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category
Research and scholarship
Fields of study
Company, commercial and transaction law
subjects
Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership
COVID-19
More than unprecedented
Podcast
Released
02. November 2020

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