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Companies May Fail, But Directors Are In Demand

Publication Date: 
September 14, 2010
The New York Times - DealBook
Susanne Craig and Peter Lattman

Professor Michael Klausner is quoted in the New York Times DealBook on the role of company directors in the financial crisis. Susanne Craig and Peter Lattman filed this story:

For 16 years, Marshall A. Cohen served as a director of the American International Group, stepping down just months before the company’s near-collapse in 2008. Several months later, Mr. Cohen was again in demand, joining the board of Gleacher & Company, a New York investment bank.

Gleacher expanded its board last year to include not only Mr. Cohen but Henry S. Bienen, who served as a director of Bear Stearns from 2004 until its rescue by JPMorgan Chase in March 2008.

On the second anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, appointments like those of Mr. Cohen and Mr. Bienen highlight how the directors of the companies at the center of the financial crisis — A.I.G., Bear Stearns and Lehman itself — still play an active role in the governance of corporate America.


“Directors of these financial institutions may or may not have been asleep at the switch, and if they were, they had a lot of company,” said Michael Klausner, a corporate law professor at Stanford. “Leaving that question aside, they may well have gained valuable experience that will make them good directors today.”