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Upcoming Forums and Events

What Can Prevent the Next Corporate Meltdown?


Jerome Green Hall, Room 106, Columbia Law School Campus, 435 W 116th St, New York
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Registration is requested but not required. To register, e-mail michele.charbonneau@rockinst.suny.edu or call (518) 443-5258


Two of the nation's pre-eminent experts, Ira and Jim Millstein, will discuss the role of active directors in corporate organization and governance, as well as the adequacy of current corporate and regulatory safeguards.

Ira M. Millstein, a senior partner in the international law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and founding chair of the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School, has spent more than five decades advising companies, nonprofits, and governments on various corporate governance issues. From the threat of bankruptcy and the ConEd blackout of 1970s New York City, to the meltdown of Drexel Burnham Lambert in the late 1980s, to the turnaround of General Motors in the mid-1990s, Millstein was at the center of each of these matters — and continues to counsel boards, management, and government officials to actively govern their corporations and constituencies.

Recently, Mr. Millstein played a key role in the reform of New York State's numerous public authorities, including serving at the request of Governors Pataki, Paterson, and Cuomo, as chairman of various task forces charged with overseeing the successful implementation of the new public authorities' laws.

In his latest book, The Activist Director: Lessons from the Boardroom and the Future of the Corporation (Columbia University Press), Ira Millstein argues some of the worst organizational meltdowns over the past 60 years can be traced to passive directors who favored operational shortcuts over quality growth strategies.

Jim Millstein served as the chief restructuring officer at the U.S. Department of the Treasury during the recent financial crisis, where he was responsible for the oversight and management of the government's largest investments in the financial sector, including AIG and Ally Financial. After leaving Treasury, Jim founded a financial advisory firm, Millstein and Co., focusing on sovereign and corporate restructuring transactions, now with more than 40 professionals in offices in Washington, DC, and New York City. Among the engagements in which he has been involved at Millstein & Co. have been the representation of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the development of its fiscal adjustment plan and a plan for the restructuring of its $70 billion of institutional indebtedness, representation of US Airways in its acquisition of American Airlines out of Chapter 11, and representation of Caesars Operating Company in its Chapter 11 restructuring. Prior to his government service, Jim was global co-head of corporate restructuring at Lazard. Throughout his career, Jim has counseled numerous corporate boards of directors and officials of various government organizations.

The Millsteins recently established the Millstein Fellowship at Columbia Law School to encourage graduates of the Law School to pursue careers in financial regulation in the federal government.

The conversation between the Millsteins will explore whether "activist directors" are an essential element of effective corporate governance, helping management focus on the creation of long term shareholder value or are simply yet another source of pressure on management to maximize short term profits at the expense of long term investments in innovation and growth. Given the newly elected federal administration's announced policy to rollback regulatory oversight of the financial sector, the Millsteins will also discuss the balance between competition and regulation in protecting the stability and dynamism of the country's financial sector.
The program is free and open to the public. To ensure a seat, registration is strongly encouraged.

The event is co-sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute of Government of the State University of New York (SUNY), the Government Law Center of Albany Law School, and Columbia Law School and its Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership.