In the following guest post, Ulrike Binder, a corporate partner in Mayer Brown’s Frankfurt office, Jan Kraayvanger, a partner in Frankfurt office of Mayer Brown’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice, Burkhard Fassbach, Legal Counsel to Howden Germany, take a look at recent corporate governance and executive liability developments in Germany. A version of this article previously was published as a White Paper by Mayer Brown written in cooperation with Howden Germany. The original version also contains a chapter about D&O-Insurance in Germany authored by Marcel Armon, CEO Howden Germany, which can be found here. I would like to thank Ulrike, Jan, and Burkhard for allowing me to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the authors’ article.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Compliance-Hype in Germany

us capitolIn a post last week, I wrote about the proposed revised Financial Choice Act (H.R. 10) now pending before Congress and the potential impact that the bill could have on the SEC’s enforcement program. In this post, I address the potential impact that the bill’s provisions could have on public company disclosure requirements and corporate governance. If the bill’s provisions are enacted into law, the measures could significantly alter or eliminate many of the Dodd-Frank Act’s disclosure and corporate governance requirements.
Continue Reading Proposed Disclosure and Corporate Governance Reforms in the Financial Choice Act 2.0

David Fontaine
David Fontaine
John Reed Stark 1
John Reed Stark

The recent news that Yahoo’s general counsel had resigned following a probe of high-profile data breaches at the company has generated a great deal of discussion and concern. In the following guest post, David Fontaine and John Reed Stark take a look at the circumstances surrounding the resignation and consider the implications of and lessons from this development. David is the CEO of Kroll and its parent company, Corporate Risk Holdings, and John is President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement. A version of this article originally appeared on CybersecurityDocket. I would like to thank Dave and John for their willingness to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Dave and John’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Three Cybersecurity Lessons From Yahoo’s Legal Department Woes

cybersecurity nowThere is little doubt that cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues in the contemporary corporate, political and economic arena. When, as have seen, cybersecurity has become a critical issue in the U.S. political and electoral processes, it is clear that the consequence and complications associated with cybersecurity have become both acute. Cybersecurity has become a pervasive issue that with political, military, and economic implications. It is also one of the foremost issues – if not the foremost issue – in the corporate risk management environment. In a complex and rapidly changing world, many companies and their senior officials are struggling to deal with cybersecurity issues and their implications.
Continue Reading Book Review: “Take Back Control of Your Cybersecurity Now”

Richa Shukla
Nilam Sharma
Joel Pridmore
Joel Pridmore

As readers of this blog know well, liability claims against corporate directors and officers is an increasingly global phenomenon. A number of different factors are contributing to the globalization of D&O liability, including legislative changes, changes in regulatory enforcement activity, and the rise of litigation financing. In the following guest post, Richa Shukla of Khaitan Legal Associates, Nilam Sharma of Nilam Sharma Ltd., and Joel Pridmore from Munich Re, Australia, examine the changing environment for D&O liability in India. I would like to thank Richa, Nilam, and Joel for allowing me to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Richa, Nilam, and Joel’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: A Focus on Directors’ and Officers’ Risks in India

enronFifteen years ago this month, the once high-flying energy company Enron completed its massive collapse when it filed a petition for bankruptcy protection. In his interesting December 2, 2016 post on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (here), Michael Peregrine of the McDermott, Will & Emery law firm takes a retrospective look at Enron’s downfall and suggests a number of different ways that those events have continuing relevance. As I discuss further below, there are, in addition to the considerations Peregrine notes, a number of other continuing legacies of Enron.
Continue Reading Enron’s Legacies, a Decade and a Half Later

sec sealThe Securities and Exchange Commission is primarily concerned with public companies and the securities markets in which the shares of public companies trade. However, in a series of recent speeches and presentations as part of what the agency had called the “Silicon Valley Initiative,” the agency made it clear that it is increasingly concerned with private and pre-IPO companies as well, particularly so-called “unicorns” – that is, the private start-up firms with valuations greater than $1 billion. SEC Chairman Mary Jo White highlighted these concerns in a March 31, 2016 speech at the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford Law School, a copy of which can be found here.

As summarized in an April 4, 2016 memo from the Fenwick & West law firm about the SEC’s Silicon Valley Initiative, “the SEC is closely watching the conduct of private companies as well as emerging platforms that trade in private company securities, and will bring enforcement cases as needed to protect investors.” The agency’s recent presentations and SEC Chair White’s speech, the memo said, underscored that “the SEC expects even private companies to embrace and demonstrate sound corporate governance.”

As discussed below, these pronouncements from the SEC raise troublesome questions about what has in the past been viewed as a clear demarcation between the potential liability exposures for private and public companies.
Continue Reading SEC Warning: It Is Watching Private Companies

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Michael W. Peregrine

In the following guest post, Michael W. Peregrine, a partner at the McDermott, Will & Emery law firm, take a look at regulators’ new “gatekeeper” expectations that now face corporate directors. This article is reprinted with permission from Corporate Board Member, First Quarter, 2016. I would like to thank Michael for his willingness to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Michael’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Managing Gatekeeper Anxiety

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Dennis Klein

The financial crisis generated a great deal of litigation, much involving the directors and officers of companies affected by the crisis. As the crisis recedes further into the past and as the litigation it generated winds down, it is worth taking a look at what happened to determine what can be learned from the litigation. In the following guest post, Dennis Klein of the Hughes Hubbard & Reed law firm provides an overview of what he views as the takeaways for corporate directors and officers from the financial crisis D&O litigation. A longer version of this article will appear in the April 2016 issue of The Review of Banking and Financial Services. I would like to thank Dennis for his willingness to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to readers of this site. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Dennis’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Seven Lessons Learned from D&O Litigation During the Financial Crisis  

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John Reed Stark
Fontaine
David Fontaine

In this day and age, the members of the boards of directors of most companies understand that cybersecurity issues are both important and should be a board-level priority. But while these issues and responsibilities are now well-recognized, many boards still struggle to translate these issues into action. In the following guest post from John Reed Stark, President, John Reed Stark Consulting LLC, and David R. Fontaine, President, Corporate Risk Holdings[1] take a look at these challenges and propose that in addressing their cybersecurity-related responsibilities boards should draw upon the same governance procedures they have longed used for with respect to financial accounting and reporting. The authors suggest well-advised boards will take this approach in light of the very real, difficult to control and ever increasing enterprise threat that cyber-attack represent for their organizations.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Boards of Directors and Cybersecurity: Applying Lessons Learned From 70 Years of Financial Reporting Oversight