Stephen Davis, Associate Director, Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance & Institutional Investors, Harvard Law School

Stephen Davis

Associate Director, Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance & Institutional Investors

Harvard Law School

Stephen Davis, Ph.D. is Associate Director of the Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors, and a senior fellow at the Program on Corporate Governance. He has been a nonresident senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution, where he co-directed the World Forum on Governance, and a senior advisor on governance at Teneo. From 2007-2012 he was executive director of the Yale School of Management’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance and Lecturer on the SOM faculty. Stephen is co-author of What They Do With Your Money: How the Financial System Fails Us, and How to Fix It (Yale University Press, 2016), an Amazon bestseller in the US and UK among books on financial services.

US SEC Chair Mary Schapiro named Stephen to the Investor Advisory Committee, and chair of its Investor as Owner Subcommittee. He has been non-executive chair of the board of Hermes EOS, the shareowner engagement arm of Hermes Pensions Management, the UK’s largest retirement fund, and is a trustee of ShareAction, the London-based NGO focused on institutional investor accountability. Stephen is a founder of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the International Corporate Governance Network, Chairmens Forums in North America and South Africa, the Conference of Fund Leaders, the (US) Systemic Risk Council, GMI Ratings (now part of MSCI), and Global Proxy Watch newsletter, for 22 years the prime industry resource for ESG insights worldwide.

In 2018 Stephen was named a Distinguished Visiting Researcher at the American University in Cairo and is a Visiting Professor in corporate governance at the IAE business school of Aix-Marseille University. He is co-chair of the Advisory Board of Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, based in the UAE; member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Group on Active Investor Stewardship; and member of the Advisory Board of Arkadiko Partners in London. He has been senior advisor on the European Commission’s ESG investor training project; member of the Advisory Council of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board; member of the Advisory Council of Bretton Woods II, an initiative of the Washington, DC-based New America think tank; member of the Contributing Committee of Development Partners International; member of the advisory board of Cartica Capital; member of the Private Sector Advisory Group of the Global Corporate Governance Forum; member of the advisory boards of the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa at University of Stellenbosch Business School and the Center for Corporate Governance at Handelshochschule Leipzig; advisor to the corporate governance project at Alfaisal University School of Business in Riyadh; and member of the MSCI Thought Leaders Council.

A winner of the 2011 ICGN Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance, Stephen co-authored The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda (Harvard Business School Press, 2006), named by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Australian Financial Review as one of the best business books of 2006. The book has been translated into Japanese, Portuguese, Complex Chinese and Korean. He is also the author of “Mobilizing Ownership: An Agenda for Corporate Renewal”, published by Brookings in May 2012. Stephen contributed to Corporate Governance in the Wake of the Financial Crisis (UNCTAD, 2011), The Origins of Shareholder Advocacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and The Cambridge Handbook of Institutional Investment and Fiduciary Duty (Cambridge University Press, 2014). His co-authored Are Institutional Investors Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? (Committee for Economic Development, Yale SOM Millstein Center, 2011) catalyzed Columbia Law School’s database Project on Investment, Ownership and Control in the Modern Firm.

Stephen co-chaired The Conference Board’s Working Group on Hedge Funds and served on the US National Association of Corporate Directors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on board-shareholder communications. He has testified at US congressional hearings, been a columnist for the Financial Times and Compliance Week, and is a frequent media commentator on corporate governance. He has been named by Directorship as among the 100 most influential figures in corporate governance and by Trust Across America as among the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. Stephen is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

Stephen pioneered the field of international corporate governance when he founded the global unit at the IRRC, in Washington, DC. His Shareholder Rights Abroad: A Handbook for the Global Investor (1989) was the first study comparing corporate governance practices in top markets. Through Davis Global Advisors, Inc., he continues to provide research and advice to capital market parties.

Stephen earned his doctorate in international business and security studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and completed undergraduate studies at Tufts and the London School of Economics. Other books include Apartheid’s Rebels: Inside South Africa’s Hidden War (Yale University Press, 1987), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Areas of Interest:

  • International corporate governance
  • Capital markets
  • Mutual fund governance
  • Corporate board chairmanship
  • Board-shareowner communications

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