SOM gets largest single donation
in its 30-year history
The School of Management (SOM) has launched the Yale Center for Corporate Governance and Performance (YCCGP) with $20 million in gifts and commitments from individuals and corporations, including the single largest donation in the school's history -- a $10 million gift from David Nierenberg, a 1975 graduate of Yale College and a 1978 graduate of Yale Law School, and his wife, Patricia.
In announcing the creation of the new center, SOM Dean Joel M. Podolny also said that Ira M. Millstein, a senior partner at the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges and senior associate dean for corporate governance at SOM, has been named director of YCCGP.
YCCGP is one of several unique multidisciplinary centers at SOM. In keeping with the school's mission of educating leaders for business and society, the YCCGP will explore the role of corporate governance to better enable corporations both to be competitive in their markets and to contribute to society.
While based at Yale's business school, the YCCGP also draws together scholars from the Law School and a variety of disciplines on campus and at other universities. The center's goals are to explore enhanced corporate governance and the roles of the corporation in society; to facilitate the interaction of these scholars with policymakers and business leaders; to promote the dissemination of ideas and research that are relevant to improving the ability of the corporation to serve society; and to look globally for models of governance that combine return to shareholders and social benefit.
The Nierenberg gift will support two important governance initiatives at SOM: the David Nierenberg Fund for Corporate Governance and Performance, and the Theodore Nierenberg Professorship in Corporate Governance. The Nierenberg Fund will support a broad range of YCCGP activities, including faculty research, graduate fellowships, and conference and symposium development. Its programs will emphasize the importance of American companies being more accountable to their stakeholders and responsive to their shareholders. The Nierenberg Professorship is named in honor of the Yale alumnus' father, Theodore Nierenberg, an independent insurance agent, financial planner and civic leader in Teaneck, New Jersey.
David Nierenberg, a former management consultant and venture capitalist, is president of Nierenberg Investment Management Company Inc., which is the general partner of The D3 Family Funds, a group of private investment partnerships.
"Through the generosity of David and Patricia Nierenberg, we are able to announce both the most significant gift in the 30-year history of the Yale School of Management and the establishment of SOM's newest interdisciplinary center, which will take a leadership role in the study and promotion of good corporate governance models worldwide," Podolny said. "We are deeply grateful for the Nierenbergs' vision and commitment."
In addition, noted the dean, as the center's director Millstein will bring "a wealth of both scholarly acumen and practical experience to the center, and will guide its innovative agenda of collaborative research, policy development, and real-world application with wisdom and insight."
Podolny also acknowledged the contribution of Shyam Sunder, the James L. Frank Professor of Accounting, Economics and Finance, who served as director of the YCCGP during its first year of start-up activity. "Without Shyam Sunder's vision, the Yale Center for Corporate Governance and Performance would not be in the enviable position in which it finds itself today," said the dean. "While Shyam's responsibilities as president of the American Accounting Association will prevent him from continuing as director, I am heartened that his dedication to the research program of the YCCGP remains unchanged."
Millstein, who is also the Eugene F. Williams Jr. Visiting Professor in Competitive Enterprise and Strategy at SOM, is a leading authority and frequent lecturer and author on corporate governance. He has counseled numerous boards on corporate governance issues, including those at General Motors, Westinghouse, Bethlehem Steel, WellChoice, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), Tyco International, The Walt Disney Co., and the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority. His numerous publications include "The Recurrent Crisis in Corporate Governance," which he coauthored. In 2001 he received the first Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance given by the International Corporate Governance Network.
Of his new role, Millstein noted, "Yale University is a unique institution and the Yale School of Management is in its best tradition. There is no better home for our new governance center because the center's role is also unique. It will not follow traditional paths, but will break new ground as to the responsibilities of the corporation in society and how -- and why -- all the members of the governance paradigm -- managers, boards and shareholders -- can better function to fulfill those responsibilities."
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