Madame Colette Neuville received the prestigious ICGN Life-time Achievement Award in Corporate Governance at its Annual Conference. Madame Neuville, known as a stark defender of minority shareholder rights in France for the last 20 years, is recognised for her defence in cases such Vivendi vs Havas in 1998, Schneider vs Legrand in 2001 and Renault vs Nissan in 2002. An economist and lawyer, Madame Neuville has organised her efforts through Association de Defense de Actionnaires Minoritaires (ADAM). She has been a member of the European Corporate Governance Forum and a member of the Board of Euroshareholders. Said Christianna Wood, Chairman of the ICGN Board of Governors:
This award recognises Madame Neuville’s defence of shareholders, her tenacity in the court room and willingness to take on the largest institutions in pursuit of justice.
Professor Lucian Bebchuk of Harvard Law School was presented with the ICGN Award. “We are all indebted to Professor Bebchuk for the quality of his research on executive compensation and his unprejudiced analysis”, said Ms Wood. Professor Bebchuk’s widely acclaimed book, co-authored with Jesse Fried, Pay Without Performance: the unfulfilled promise of executive compensation, was published in 2004. He holds an LLM and SJD from Harvard Law School and an MA and PhD in Economics from the Harvard Economics Department. On receiving the award Professor Bebchuk said,
Much of my academic work over the years has sought to shed light on issues that are important to practice and policymaking in the corporate governance field. I am therefore delighted and honoured to have my academic research recognised by the ICGN.
Carl Rosen, Executive Director of ICGN, added
Professor Bebchuk has painstakingly proven that executive pay is not justified by economic performance but rather is set by a dysfunctional system where executives can pay themselves at will. The forthcoming ICGN Guidance on Remuneration is set to address this by demanding more transparency and accountability in the process.
A third ICGN Award was made to Dr Stephen Davis, Ph.D, Executive Director of Yale School of Management’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance. As acknowledged by Wood,
Stephen Davis is recognised as a pioneer in the field of international corporate governance and has been the convening energy for many initiatives over the past two decades.
His accomplishments include the being one of the co-founders of the ICGN and the establishment of the global unit at the IRRC. His Shareholder Rights Abroad: A Handbook for the Global Investor (1989) was the first study comparing corporate governance practices in top markets. His co-authored book The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda sets out a practical vision for capital markets. In receiving the award Mr Davis remarked,
The highest honour one can hope for is recognition by one’s peers, so I am hugely grateful for this award and to all the mentors and colleagues I have had the privilege of knowing who are the true architects of an accountable capital market.
Congratulations to all three. ICGN certainly gave their awards to three well deserving contributors who have advanced corporate governance and the rights of shareowners.