Baruch College's Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity Explores Issues of Corporate Governance, Responsibility this Fall

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NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 4, 2010 – Some of society’s most vexing issues, like the corporate failures that helped bring on the Great Recession and industrial carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change, can ultimately be laid at the feet of corporate boards. To whom are corporate boards accountable for their decisions that adversely affect society? Can corporate governance be altered so that society’s needs play a greater role in corporate decision-making?

Baruch College’s Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity (RZCCI) will present two public discussions on corporate governance issues in October that will address issues of responsibility and potential change in relation to corporate boards.

On Oct. 7, in collaboration with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, RZCCI brings together a panel of experts in “Can We Use Corporate Governance to Combat Climate Change?” to focus on the possibility of adapting the way American corporations are governed so that businesses begin to take more effective steps to lower greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming. Questions to be considered include:  

  • Do corporate directors/officers have a legal obligation beyond ensuring that corporations comply with existing environmental law?
  • What are the duties of a corporation’s directors regarding its contribution to global warming?
  • Might courts or legislatures create fiduciary duties where they do not currently exist?
  • What is the role of shareholders in influencing a corporation’s environmental record?

Moderated by David Rosenberg, Associate Professor in the Law Department in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, this panel will include Doug Cogan of RiskMetrics Group, Inc.; Daniel Greenwood, Professor at Hofstra School of Law; and Stephen Viederman, formerly of the Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation. Peter Fusaro, Chairman and Founder, Global Change Associates, will give the keynote address.

On Oct. 28, RZCCI presents Dr. Yilmaz Arguden, author of “Boardroom Secrets: Corporate Governance for Quality of Life.” Dr. Arguden, a leading strategist, advisor and board member of major public and private companies and NGOs, will discuss how the global economic crisis is essentially a corporate governance crisis, and how good governance can be created and shaped. He will address the CRAFTED (Culture and a climate of consistency; Responsibility; Accountability; Fairness; Transparency; and Effectiveness) principles of governance that can bring about systemic change in a company. Some of the questions he will focus on include:

  • Is the economic crisis really the result of lax corporate governance?
  • Why are corporate boards specifically responsible?
  • What are some of the more common practices used by executive boards that put us on the path to a recession?
  • Is the government’s move to slash executive compensation the right remedy?

“As our world grows increasingly interdependent, and the bad decisions of a few have enormous consequences for many, it is worth asking basic questions about behavior and responsibility,” said Donald H. Schepers, Director of RZCCI. “Public forums like the ones RZCCI is hosting this fall, where pressing issues are considered and responses discussed, are a first step toward positive change.”

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About the Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity:

The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity (RZCCI) at Baruch College is a forum for discussion of a broad range of contemporary issues confronting U.S. corporations and capital markets, including corporate governance; executive accountability; corporate responsibility in global business development; and the role of governmental regulation.  Through an ongoing series of speakers and panel discussions and involvement in the College’s annual Ethics Week, RZCCI aims to foster interaction among corporate leaders, regulators, scholars and Baruch students and, ultimately, raise the ethical climate of corporate America to a higher plane.

About Baruch College:

Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 16,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. Through its three schools—the School of Public Affairs; the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences; and the Zicklin School of Business, the largest AACSB-accredited business school in the nation—Baruch College offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees that reflect the college’s foundation in the liberal arts and its strong focus on management and public affairs. Baruch College dates back more than 160 years to the founding in 1847 of the Free Academy, the first free public college in the nation. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world.