In this paper, we examine independent directors as a legal transplant from dispersed ownership systems to concentrated ownership ones. We focus on Continental Europe, Japan, Brazil, Russia, India and China. Our main thesis is that independent directors have a different and relatively narrower role to perform in controlled corporations.
We also argue that in the law and practice of controlled corporations independent directors often play an even weaker role than economic theory would predict. In order to prove our thesis, we compare the legal regimes applicable to independent directors across countries. We find that the notion and functions of independent directors vary remarkably across our sample jurisdictions. Firstly, the role of independent directors is not always
specified. Secondly, independent directors often play a role in audit committees and, less frequently, in nomination and remuneration committees. However, they are rarely tasked with the vetting of related-party transactions and other conflicts of interest situations. Moreover, controlling shareholders often perform some of the functions that are typical of independent directors in diffuse ownership, such as the hiring and firing of Managers and the setting of their remuneration. We conclude that the weak role of Independent directors in several countries shows that they are often appointed mainly to accommodate
investors? preference for western-style corporate governance.
This article analyzes the impact of technology, in particular distributed ledgers/ blockchains, smart contracts, Big Data analytics and AI/machine learning (collectively referred to as “Corporate Technologies”, or “CorpTech”) on the future of...Read more
We examine the Centros decision through the lens of SB 826 – the California statute mandating a minimum number of women on boards. SB 826, like the Centros decision, raises questions about the scope of the internal affairs doctrine...Read more
The amended EU shareholder rights directive introduces a comprehensive regime of ex ante review for potentially conflicted transactions between listed companies and their major shareholders, downstream entities, and managers. Such ‘related party...Read more
A widely accepted principle in finance is that good corporate governance is associated with higher firm value. However, what is “good governance” and whether the same set of good governance practices can be universally adopted are fiercely...Read more