Appointments Archive

Jul 01, 2010
Those who say corporate governance can’t be gripping  should take a hike in Robert Smith’s shoes. Before his current role as vice president, deputy general counsel and assistant secretary at utilities provider NiSource, Smith had already dealt with the impact of a below-investment-grade rating, walked an organization through the various corporate and securities issues related to its Chapter 11 filing, and navigated the slew of governance changes in the wake of the Enr...
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Jul 01, 2010
When it comes to running a board, Paul Washington, outgoing chair of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals (the Society), has learned that ‘the chair is just one member of the board. You can’t just say, Let it be done, and have it be done,’ he laughs. Those who prefer to think of teamwork as ‘people who do as I say’ may be tempted to file this advice away in the easier-said-than-done category. At the Society, however, th...
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Jun 01, 2010
Former vice president Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth – or as talk show host Stephen Colbert jokingly called it, ‘the highest-grossing PowerPoint presentation in history’ – may have pushed the global warming debate into the hot seat but, in terms of disclosing business-related risks posed by climate change, Xcel Energy has been at the forefront. A little less than two years ago, shortly after assistant general counsel Wendy Mahling join...
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Jun 01, 2010
On May 6 Kirkland & Ellis brought together a select list of general counsel and CEOs for a private dinner at its impressive New York City offices. The timing could not have been better – the markets had dropped 1,000 points in intra-day trading (and recovered somewhat to close at down around 350 points) – but the main draw was Ken Feinberg, special master for executive compensation at the US Department of the Treasury. The conversation was both lively and informati...
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Apr 01, 2010
Shareholder activism, like most things in the business world, is cyclical. There was definitely a time when activism revolved around shortterm shareholders pushing companies to sell off assets or go private. This was largely driven by the hedge fund community. Then there were the politically motivated actions of unions and pension funds. Right now, however, activism is changing and there is a new focus on the notion that active involvement from sophisticate...
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Apr 01, 2010
'I would have loved to play centerfield for the San Francisco Giants, but you have to be able to hit,’ laughs Steven Shapiro, general counsel and corporate secretary at ColeTaylor Bank. ‘Once you realize you can’t hit, what comes next? Rock star.’ Shapiro wasted little time entertaining alternative career options, however. By high school he knew he wanted to be a lawyer. ‘Sad, isn’t it?’ he jokes. Following college and a two-year stint in fina...
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Mar 01, 2010
 ‘At my core, I am really a huge corporate governance and securities law geek,’ confesses Lisa Beth Lentini, senior corporate counsel at Best Buy. Lentini’s job title only begins to hint at her myriad responsibilities; her ever-increasing list of duties reflects the continually evolving role of corporate governance professionals. When she first came to Best Buy in 2006, Lentini thought she would be primarily focused on securities work. ‘But your areas of fo...
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Mar 01, 2010
When John Wilcox first heard about Brazil’s plans for Novo Mercado, a premium listing tier with voluntary corporate governance standards, he was skeptical. A decade later, ‘the great experiment’, as Wilcox calls it, is a wild success, with imitators from India and Turkey to the Philippines. ‘Brazil trusted in the assumption that good governance could reduce the cost of capital and attract investment – and that has proven true,’ says Wilcox, chair of Sodali....
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Jan 01, 2010
‘The question is, is anybody reading it?’ says GE corporate and securities counsel Chris Pereira when asked how his team addressed the creation of what became the number one corporate compensation disclosure in the 2009 proxy season. ‘Most people read their mail over the trash can nowadays,’ Pereira continues, asking rhetorically whether anyone would bother with a 100-page proxy or a 30-page compensation discussion and analysis (CD&A). ‘People just don...
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Oct 01, 2009
Coping with scandal, and being part of the team tasked with improving things, is never easy. But it is something at which Dannette Smith has excelled at over past year or two as secretary to the board at UnitedHealth Group. So much so that she took home the award for ‘Corporate secretary of the year’, sponsored by CSC, at the Corporate Secretary Magazine Awards. She was in good company given the excellent nominees for the award: Winn-Dixie’s Larry Appel, Chevro...
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