About the Center

Our Mission

The role of the corporation in society is undergoing profound change. With a seismic shift towards the concentration of corporate ownership in the hands of institutional investors and the private ownership of companies, corporate boards and management are facing unprecedented shareholder and societal demands. This includes the proliferation of shareholder activism and institutional investor calls for sustainable investment strategies.

The mission of the Millstein Center is to positively shape and influence the future of the corporation in this new paradigm. Through engagement with business leaders, corporate boards, investors, the legal community and academics, the Center creates meaningful dialogue, while balancing conflicting points of view, to strengthen corporate governance and performance. 

The Center achieves this mission through a two-pronged approach. First, through engagement with corporate leaders on the most pressing issues facing corporations today, the Center creates the networks, best practices and tools necessary for those leaders to successfully navigate these challenges. Second, the Center addresses critical research questions, bridging the gap between academics and practitioners and bringing academic rigor to the business and policy solutions required to tackle the challenges corporations face today.

Programs: Engagement with Corporate Leaders

The Millstein Center holds programs aimed at key decision makers within the corporation who can utilize their business judgment to address the challenges companies face through active engagement in strategy, capital allocation, and culture shift for the long-term future. Currently, the Center's programs consist of the Board Leadership Forum, the General Counsel Forum, and the Governance Leadership Forum. Find more on the Center's programs here.

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Board Leadership Forum

Run in collaboration with Deloitte, the Board Leadership Forum is a unique peer network of board chairs and lead directors of public and private corporations that meets twice per year to engage on the distinctive challenges and opportunities that they face in the boardroom. It offers a place for chairs and lead directors to work through those challenges with, and learn from, their distinguished peers. Sessions of the Forum are designed to be interactive, encouraging robust discussion among the group and with the influential guests invited to discuss the latest issues, research, trends and perspectives on topics most relevant to today’s board leaders.

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General Counsel Forum

The General Counsel Forum is composed of general counsel from public and private corporations that meet in a peer setting to engage in interactive sessions around the governance issues most relevant to their unique role in their organizations. The Forum is focused on supporting and enabling these general counsel to implement good governance practices, particularly those that advance the long-term strategic interests of their corporations, and to become true counselors to the board on critical governance and business matters.   

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Governance Leadership Forum

The Governance Leadership Forum (launching in 2019 in partnership with Deloitte) is a network that brings together the chairs of Nominating and Governance Committees in a peer-to-peer setting twice per year to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities they face, including the recruitment and selection of new board members, achieving diversity of thought and experience on the board, and evaluating the performance of the existing board and its members. This network will also provide practical information that Nom-Gov Chairs can use to lead their boards to success, including by publishing meeting summaries and relevant research.


Research: Bridging the Gap Between Academics and Practitioners

The Millstein Center is a premier research institution focused on the wide array of issues facing corporations and the capital markets today. The role and structure of corporate ownership is being redefined in a manner not seen in over a century, and the Millstein Center is on the forefront of the cutting edge academic research needed to develop the business and policy solutions required. Find more on the Center's research here.

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Future of the Corporation

Recognizing that the role of the corporation in society is undergoing profound change, the Millstein Center launched its Future of the Corporation Project in 2018. With a seismic shift towards the concentration of corporate ownership in the hands of institutional investors and the private ownership of companies, corporate boards and management are facing unprecedented shareholder and societal demands. Through the Future of the Corporation Project, which draws on the world-class resources and faculty of Columbia University, the Millstein Center seeks to delineate what that future corporation should look like, proposing a new, forward-looking narrative on the purpose and governance of the corporate form.

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Counter-Narratives Project

The Counter-Narratives Project, launched in 2019, focuses on alternative theories to the conventional shareholder primacy paradigm—the theory that shareholder interests should be prioritized above the interests of all other stakeholders (including debtholders, employees, customers, suppliers, the environment, the community, and the corporation itself). The alternative theories, or “counter-narratives,” argue that such a view encourages “short-termist” actors and behaviors which have contributed to economic malaise and a maldistribution of wealth. These counter-narratives propose various methods of balancing the interests of all stakeholders and measuring the success of a corporation through means other than simple shareholder wealth maximization.

Featured Publications

Journal of Applied Corporate Finance Executive Summaries - Corporate Governance “Counter-Narratives”: On Corporate Purpose and Shareholder Value(s)