© Nathan Mandell
has long history as governance leader
before company names like “Enron” and “Adelphia”
became epithets, Kellogg School of Management professors were
studying the intricate workings of corporate boards and the
delicate balance of power among boards, CEOs and shareholders.
Donald P. Jacobs recalls that, more than a decade ago, Kellogg
School administrators and professors decided Kellogg should
stand at the forefront of corporate governance research. Led
by Jacobs, the group organized the school’s first-ever
conference to address corporate governance issues of the day.
was at the time a schism developing between boards of directors
and institutional investors,” Jacobs says. “We
decided that it would be very desirable to have a conference
where we brought together board members from around the world
and institutional investors who held large investments in
invitation-only corporate governance conference, which marked
its 11th anniversary in May, pictured above, has perhaps never
been more relevant than today.
event continued the tradition of healthy debate surrounding
issues affecting corporate boards and their dynamics. The
two-day conference included discussion of executive compensation
in volatile markets, as well as the effects of Enron’s
collapse on boards.
effort to bring the conference insights to those who could
not attend, Kellogg sent out a transcript of the session to
a number of corporate board members.
highlights included the annual awards for “Corporate
America’s Outstanding Directors,” given to eight
leaders by the editors of the monthly publication Director’s
Alert. This year’s recipients included United Airlines
CEO John W. Creighton Jr., Northwestern University President
Emeritus Arnold R. Weber, and retired Sunoco Inc. Chairman
and CEO Robert H. Campbell. “We’re supporting
the idea that there are good directors,” says Donald
S. Perkins, former Jewel Foods chairman, who co-hosts the
conference with Jacobs.
conference’s early days, says Jacobs, the subject of
corporate governance “wasn’t thought much of.”
That’s changed dramatically since then. “More
and more it has become one of the central points of discussion,”
the Kellogg faculty continues its research into corporate
governance. Several courses, including Executive Education
offerings such as Strategies
for Improving Directors’ Effectiveness, Governing
the Family Business and the Women’s
Director Development Program, provide insight into this
crucial area. And Jacobs’ governance seminar continues
to be popular, both within the full-time MBA and Executive
Education curriculum. Given the recent corporate leadership
lapses, seats in these and other Kellogg governance classes
should remain in high demand.