Craig Ferrere (left) is presented a Rising Star award by Ira M. Millstein, co-chair of the advisory board of the Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at the Columbia Law School.

Rising star

UD's Ferrere named among top rising corporate governance professionals

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10:43 a.m., July 3, 2013--Craig Ferrere, the Edgar S. Woolard Jr. Fellow in Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware’s John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance, has been named a Rising Star in Corporate Governance for 2013 by the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at the Columbia Law School.

In celebration of the honor, which recognizes global corporate governance professionals under the age of 40 who are making their mark as outstanding analysts, experts, directors, managers or advocates, Ferrere attended a reception on June 24 at Columbia University as part of the eighth annual Millstein Governance Forum.

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There, he joined six other 2013 Millstein Center Rising Stars from a broad group of organizations and countries ranging from the U.S. and the United Kingdom to Pakistan and Tajikistan.

The recipients, who were nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of previous award recipients, were determined based on criteria such as past accomplishments and thought leadership, future projects and endeavors, reputation among existing industry leaders and potential to influence the industry in the future.

"For several years now, we have had the privilege of recognizing young and upcoming corporate governance professionals from around the world through this Rising Stars award,” said Ira M. Millstein, co-chair of the Millstein Center Advisory Board. “This is a new era of corporate governance and this year’s honorees are the future leaders who will help define it.”

In addition to Ferrere, the Rising Stars of Corporate Governance for 2013 included Mirza Baig, managing director, Hikma Governance Consulting; Steven Haas, partner, Hunton and Williams LLP; Michael McCoy, vice president and corporate secretary, Avnet Inc.; Tahmina Nurova, team leader, International Finance Corporation; Muhammad Asif Paryani, deputy director, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan; and Heath P. Tarbert, partner, Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP.

Ferrere, who continues to assist with research for the Weinberg Center, said it was an honor to receive the award from such a renowned center and noted his interests grew from his undergraduate days at the University.

“This is the culmination of a long period of study which began in the Department of Finance and really took off at the Weinberg Center,” said Ferrere. “My experience at Delaware has been a great one and laid all the groundwork which led to this award.” The center is directed by Charles Elson, Edgar S. Woolard Jr. Chair in Corporate Governance and a renowned corporate governance expert.

Ferrere, whose research interests are in corporations and corporate law, said he will continue to work on several more pieces this year on agency theory and executive compensation before he heads to law school.

“This is a very nice honor for Craig and the Weinberg Center but also for the department because he is one of our majors,” said Helen Bowers, chair of the Department of Finance, of Ferrere, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 2011. “The department offers our students a wide variety of educational experiences beyond the classroom to give them a competitive advantage. By engaging with Prof. Elson and the Weinberg Center, Craig took advantage of one of the premier opportunities available at the University of Delaware.”

“We at the center, the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and the University are incredibly proud of this honor for Craig,” said Elson. “He is the youngest recipient of this year’s highly prestigious national award by many years. We are honored to have him as a colleague and to witness the significant change his efforts have made in the national governance scene.”

Corporate governance research

Specifically, research by both Ferrere and Elson on the centrality of over-reliance on peer group compensation benchmarking to executive pay has stirred corporate governance conversations nationally, in both news and practitioner outlets.

Funded with the support of a 2011 Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute grant, their research most recently appeared in the University of Iowa Law School’s Journal of Corporation Law, titled “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Overcompensation.”

Ferrere and Elson also co-authored a paper for the Wake Forest Law Review’s 2013 Business Law Symposium in response to the query "Agency Theory: Still viable?"

Elson and Ferrere further developed the arguments in shorter articles written for the Wall Street Journal, the Conference Board’s Directors Notes, the Harvard Law School’s Forum on Corporate Governance and Securities Regulation and the Harvard Business Review HBR Blog. 

They also presented the paper and their research to academic audiences at Arizona State University, Columbia University School of Law, UCLA School of Law, the University of Minnesota Law School and the University of Delaware, and to various professional organizations including the American Bar Association, the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Conference Board. 

The paper received national media coverage in various outlets including, the New York Times (CEO’s and the Pay-Em-or-Lose Em Myth, September 2012; and If Shareholders Say ‘Enough Already,’ the Board May Listen, April 2013; log-ins required); Time magazine, NBC News, Directorship, Compliance Week and TheCorporateCounsel.net.  

A debate on the paper’s thesis between Elson and Ferrere and Ira Kay, a compensation consultant, was co-sponsored by the Weinberg Center and the Conference Board, and received coverage in the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Journal (CEO Pay Seen Hitting Bear Market, CFO Comp Rising, January 2013). 

About the Weinberg Center

The John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance was established in 2000, with a mission of providing a forum for business leaders, members of corporate boards, shareholders, the judiciary, the legal community, academics, graduate and undergraduate students and others interested in corporate governance issues to interact, learn and teach.

It develops programs that generate local, national and international interest, and is recognized as a thought leader in the corporate governance field. Center programs, publications and academic research have helped to shape and influence numerous corporate governance debates and developments. 

About the Millstein Center

The Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership conducts timely research on crucial real-world issues. Focusing on the global financial markets, the center studies the changing relationships between investors and corporations, the impact of developments in the market and new investors on corporations and companies, and any possible additional structural or policy changes needed for the full restoration of public trust in the financial and real economy, as well as the long-term impact on corporate governance and performance. 

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