The Modern Corporation

The Modern Corporation Project, run by Prof. Hugh Willmott and Dr. Jeroen Veldman at Cass Business School, City University, is a research project in which academics and practitioners worldwide debate on the nature and consequences of contemporary corporate governance theory and practice and identify best practices with regard to long-term value creation in corporate governance theory and practice.

This website presents succinct and authoritative statements on corporate governance prepared and endorsed by leading international academics and practitioners from the fields of Company Law, Economics, Accounting, Management and Politics.

Find our research on researchgate.

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Background

After the financial crisis, there has been considerable debate about the role of corporations in society. It has become broadly accepted that corporations – particularly the world’s largest publicly traded corporations – need to be governed with respect for the society and the environment. This is because corporations are dependent on the broader institutional and systemic framing for their long-term survival and because the most pressing of society’s problems cannot be solved without a contribution from corporations or by regulation alone.

However, this consensus has not yet been reflected in mainstream corporate governance models. Since the 1970s, the dominant theory of corporate governance has put shareholder primacy at the centre of managerial attention. The consequences of this focus include a discounting of long-term value creation and investment, excessive risk taking, and an exclusion of broader stakeholders’ interests and time-frames as ‘externalities’. As this theoretical focus diminishes the ability to create long-term sustainable value, it leads to risks for corporations and their stakeholders, including long-term shareholders. In addition, it diminishes the capacity of corporations to anticipate and mitigate systemic risks, such as overshooting planetary boundaries and rising social inequality.

The Modern Corporation Project engaged with leading international academics in the fields of Company LawEconomicsAccountingManagement and Politics to provide succinct and authoritative statements that contextualise this dominant corporate governance theory and its practical effects.

Between 2014 and 2016 the Modern Corporation Project and the Purpose of the Corporation Project run by Frank Bold brought together more than 260 senior practitioners, regulators, standard setters, and academics from business management, investment, regulation and academic and civil society communities in a series of international roundtables in London, New York, Zurich, Amsterdam, Paris, and Oslo with the aim of identifying desired outcomes and principles of corporate governance fit for the challenges of the 21st century.we concluded this series of roundtables with a report providing a comprehensive approach to pressing issues in the field of corporate governance.

In September 2016 we presented the report in a conference in Brussels, which brought together more than 30 high level speakers and over 140 participants. Keynote speeches were delivered by Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality; John Kay, well known author, economist and columnist at Financial Times; and Richard Howitt, MEP and incoming CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council.

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