We are very skeptical of this new initiative — to have its very first report grounded in the work of the ultimate defender of corporate insiders but couched in the language of stakeholders looks like just another sneaky entrenchment ploy. We hope that the emphasis on sustainability is sincere, but we need to be persuaded.
Nasdaq Inc. has launched the Nasdaq Center for Corporate Governance, an information and research platform dedicated to supporting boards, senior executives, and governance professionals at public, private, and nonprofit organizations.Nasdaq, which works with 4,000 companies listed on its global exchanges but has a total of 9,800 clients, named Martyn Chapman, Head of Strategy for Nasdaq Governance Solutions, as Executive Director of the Center. Kellie Huennekens, a former Ernst & Young executive, was also named Head of Americas and governance consultant Stephen Page was named Head of EMEA.
The Center’s first report, Where Board and Investor Priorities Intersect, assesses governance practices from the S&P 100 companies based on public disclosures. A key theme that arose in the report was shift from a “know your shareholders” tack to a more current “know your stakeholders” approach, giving more attention to issues such as diversity, sustainability, and the environment.
The heavier focus on stakeholders echoes an approach to corporate governance known as The New Paradigm, which was recently designed by Martin Lipton, Founding Partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Mr. Lipton emphasized that corporations exist for many reasons besides the enrichment of their owners, such as benefitting a local community.