University of Southern California

Keys to Building a Strong Economy
USC Corporate Governance Summit Provided Insight into Today’s Business Climate
December 4, 2013 • by News at Marshall

How do you create and sustain a healthy economy? Top-tier industry leaders convened at the USC Marshall School of Business’ annual Corporate Governance Summit, Nov. 14-15, to examine this question, as well as the roles governing boards and corporate directors play in shaping the economic landscape.

Themed “Good Governance: A Pillar to a Strong Economy,” the eighth annual gathering was held on the USC campus, convenient for Southern California-based executives. A wide range of speakers—including experts from USC Marshall, USC Gould School of Law and USC Leventhal School of Accounting—helped attendees navigate issues such as new financial services regulation, executive compensation and corporate social responsibility. Christopher Cox, 28th chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, marked his sixth time at the Summit’s podium and provided the opening keynote address, “Good Governance Is Not Just for the Governed.” "The USC Corporate Governance Summit attracts a remarkable group of thought leaders from business, academia and the professions who together provide an invaluable resource for directors and those who work with the board," Cox said.

In addition to Cox, approximately 70 corporate governance practitioners shared their insight and commentary over the Summit’s 16 hours of panel and plenary sessions, which addressed a range of topics from “The Changing Face of the Boardroom” to “The Evolving Role of Private Equity.”

While the Summit serves as an annual hub for those seeking the best practices in corporate governance, the gathering also offers a “good way of networking,” said attendee and panelist Dann Angeloff, founder of The Angeloff Company, a corporate financial advisory firm. “Directors of companies come because they want to meet other directors or expand their board base. Throughout the day and a half of sessions, you start to recognize people and get to know them because they’re there for the same reason you are, but perhaps with a different focus than you may have.”

"Over the years, I've encouraged the members and directors of the boards I serve on to attend,” Angeloff continued. “They all have found it a valuable experience. I believe the reason the Summit has sustained such success is because our best marketers are the people who’ve attended and referred other people."

Angeloff, founding chairman of Marshall Partners, appeared on the “Reflections on Governance: Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow” panel. He added that the Summit consistently attracts not only corporate directors, but also professionals such as lawyers or accountants, as well as educators. All of these attendees had the opportunity to encounter specialists including Marshall Dean James Ellis, former SEC Chairman Cox and the Seventh Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, Myron Steele. “These are experts that most executives won’t get to meet personally in their everyday experiences,” Angeloff noted.

According to Duke Bristow, the Summit’s faculty director, this year’s event attracted more sponsors, speakers and attendees, representing firms such as Goldman Sachs, Facebook and BlackRock, than in previous years.

Over the years, the Summit has steadily provided invaluable resources to face governance challenges, even to those who’ve organized the event. Said Associate Professor Bristow: “The best practices I’ve learned at the Summit we have held over the years not only have made me a better teacher in my classroom, but have enhanced my skill set in the boardroom, as a director myself.”

In addition to Dean Ellis and Professor Bristow, the following members of the USC Marshall faculty moderated or participated in panel sessions: William Holder, Alan Casden Dean's Chair, USC Leventhal School of Accounting; Judith Blumenthal, professor, USC Marshall School of Business; Ken Merchant, Deloitte & Touche LLP Chair in Accountancy and professor, USC Marshall School of Business and Leventhal School of Accounting; Mick Swartz, professor, USC Marshall School of Business; and Kevin Murphy, Kenneth L. Trefftzs Chair in Finance, USC Marshall School of Business, and advisor to the U.S. government on executive compensation.

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.