University of Southern California

Business World Changes Faster Than You Think
6th Annual Corporate Governance Summit Addresses Emerging Trends
December 5, 2011 • by News at Marshall

"The future ain’t what it used to be," said Chief Justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court Myron Steele, quoting Yogi Berra in his keynote address at USC Marshall’s Corporate Governance Summit, thereby setting the tone for most of the event, held Oct. 27-28, 2011 at USC’s Davidson Conference Center.

Over two days, summit attendees heard industry and academic leaders discuss the rapidly evolving issues facing corporate leadership such as new financial services regulation, executive compensation regulation proposals, shareholder rights and corporate social responsibility.

Duke Bristow, associate professor of clinical finance and business economics at Marshall, organized the summit, titled "Leading Through Uncertainty." Sixty speakers were scheduled over 16 hours of sessions.

"The USC Summit had an exceptional set of thought leaders who are sitting directors and other world-class subject matter experts from all aspects of corporate governance," Bristow said. "This year's summit was our best ever by any measure and our first to be Webcast. Now directors who could not attend can hear selected sessions whenever they have time."

"This is a meaningful event for us, and Chief Justice Steele must agree that there’s value to be found here, as he is joining us for his third go-round," said Marshall Dean James Ellis as he introduced Steele.

Steele addressed the shift toward shareholder democracy. A company’s shareholders don’t share fiduciary duty--the legally mandated obligation to a company’s overall health-- as members of its board do. "We need to think of an accountability mechanism for shareholders," Steele suggested. "We need to fill that gap."

Also returning to the podium for the third time was Christopher Cox ‘73, the former SEC chairman who is currently partner at Bingham McCutchen and recently elected member of the USC Board of Trustees. Cox gave the closing keynote "Are We Out of the Crisis Era?"

As it was last year, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was a significant topic at the summit overall. Especially so at "The Government in the Boardroom" session, whose title Marshall Vice Dean John Matsusaka noted "could have been applied to any number of the sessions at this summit."

"It’s no surprise that there is more government in the boardroom," said Matsusaka, who is also a professor of law at USC’s Gould School of Law. "Our modern world is reliant on business. The flipside to that is when something goes wrong, voters expect government to solve it."

Government regulations, Matsusaka continued, must be grounded in "rigorous benefit analysis, " which is where the efforts of a research university such as USC can be applied. "Our purpose is to provide that knowledge," he said.

Visit to download the Webcast.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.