Stakeholder Governance and the Eclipse of Shareholder Primacy : une lecture du matin

Bel article de Martin Lipton tiré du Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance intitulé : « Stakeholder Governance and the Eclipse of Shareholder Primacy » (7 mai 2024). Cet article (court) fait de précieux rappel et évoque également les actualités récentes sur la question. Il y a qui plus est de belles sources !


Extrait :

Today, there is a growing recognition of the harm that shareholder primacy has wrought. In a widely heralded edition of his annual letter to shareholders, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, recently decried the “treadmill to ruin” for companies that succumb to the undue pressure of quarterly earnings by resorting to shortcuts, calling instead for building shareholder value over the long run by considering all of the company’s stakeholders, from customers to employees to communities. Echoing that concern, The Financial Times’ Rana Foroohar regularly implores policymakers and business leaders to beware “the perils of short-term financial market pressures” confronting the United States, warning in particular about a looming transport-and-logistics “crisis moment” due to the dramatic contraction in the American shipbuilding industry over the past several decades. And in the academic world, a variety of scholars have been rethinking prevailing theories of corporate governance — from Harvard Business School’s Joseph Bower and Lynn Paine, in The Error at the Heart of Corporate Leadership; to Oxford University’s Colin Mayer, who decisively states in his book Capitalism and Crises that the purpose of the corporation is “to produce profitable solutions for the problems of people and planet, not profiting from producing problems for either.” Indeed, recent debates about the corporation’s fundamental purpose have borne fruit in powerful statements of the urgency of stakeholder governance for our Nation’s economy, and for society more broadly.


With this history in mind, we continue to believe that It’s Time to Adopt The New Paradigm — CEOs and boards of corporations should forge partnerships with shareholders and other stakeholders in order to resist short-termism and embrace stakeholder governance in pursuit of sustainable, long-term value creation. And, it bears cautioning, corporations must not be diverted from this commitment by the growing politicization and polarization around specific environmental, social, and governance issues.

The panoply of complex stakeholder issues that companies face today remain integral to corporate sustainability, responsible risk management, and value creation. But the agendas of activists targeting stakeholder issues — in some cases, opposing consideration of such issues altogether, and in other cases, seeking to mandate the board’s prioritization of a specific stakeholder issue — threaten to distort stakeholder governance and undermine our progress away from the era of shareholder primacy. As we recently reiterated, “There should be no doubt that the law in Delaware and every other U.S. jurisdiction empowers well-advised boards . . . to vindicate long-term value as the true purpose of the corporation.” It remains incumbent upon and entirely within the purview of boards of directors to exercise their reasoned business judgment in carefully balancing the interests of all stakeholders in order to create long-term, sustainable value.

The emerging consensus about the essential role of stakeholder governance in America’s long-term corporate, economic, national security, and societal prosperity, heralds a development long overdue: the eclipse of shareholder primacy.


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Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 8 mai 2024 à 10 h 59 min.


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