As President Donald J. Trump continues to build out his administration, it remains far from clear how activists will fare under a Trump administration and whether a Trump administration will foster a climate that is more or less facilitative of shareholder activism.
On Thursday, February 16, 2017, CommPRO hosted a webinar, moderated by Keith Gottfried, leader of the Morgan Lewis shareholder activism defense practice and featuring a panel of professionals with experience in the shareholder activism and political arenas, that will discuss how a Trump administration and its policies could impact the climate for shareholder activism, the types of campaigns that activists look to pursue and the companies and industries that are targeted.
Keith E. Gottfried
Partner & Shareholder Activism Defense Practice Leader
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Keith E. Gottfried, a corporate partner with the global law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and the leader of its market-leading shareholder activism defense practice. Morgan Lewis was recently ranked No. 1 among all law firms for legal defense of public companies against activist shareholders in the Thomson Reuters Global Shareholder Activism Scorecard for the first half of 2016 (as of August 18, 2016), No. 2 in the Factset SharkRepellent 2016 year-to-date activism defense league table (as of January 26, 2017) and No. 2 in the Activist Insight Magazine activist defense league table (as of December 5, 2016), in each case based on the number of publicly disclosed activist defense matters that Morgan Lewis has been involved in.
Over the course a legal career that spans almost 25 years, Keith has been involved in defending numerous public companies against high-profile proxy contests, special meeting demands, consent solicitations and unsolicited acquisition proposals. Frequently quoted by the national business media on issues relating to shareholder activism, Keith publishes and presents regularly on the strategies companies and their boards of directors can apply to make themselves less vulnerable to activist investors as well as strategies for shareholder engagement. Keith is listed in Chambers USA which ranks him as a leading corporate/M&A lawyer. As activist campaigns closely resemble political campaigns, Keith also brings to his activism defense clients substantial political insight gained as a U.S. Senate confirmed political appointee in the administration of President George W. Bush.
Steven Balet is a managing director in the FTI Consulting Strategic Communications segment and is based in New York. He is part of the Financial Communications and Capital Markets practices.
For the past 20 years Mr. Balet has advised public companies and hedge funds of all sizes on mergers & acquisitions, contested proxy campaigns and corporate governance issues. Mr. Balet’s experience includes providing strategic counsel to both corporates and dissidents in proxy contests all around the world. He has also worked on many contested cross border mergers and acquisitions transactions.
Mr. Balet has extensive experience working with issuers to develop the most effective message for delivering the vote. He routinely counsels issuers on how to engage third party advisory groups such as Institutional Shareholder Services as well as providing background information on various activist stockholders and the techniques they employ. Mr. Balet has spoken on numerous panels discussing shareholder activism as it relates to both merger activism and board proxy fights.
Mr. Balet has been involved in some of the largest contested situations in the past decade including representing Sanofi-Synthelabo in their acquisition of Aventis, Rio Tinto in its defense of BHP Billiton’s hostile tender, and Oracle in its hostile acquisition of Peoplesoft. Most recently, Mr. Balet advised in tow large hostile defenses: Allergan in its defense against Pershing Square Capital Management and Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Perrigo Company in its defense against Mylan N.V.; and he currently advises Monsanto Company.
Mr. Balet joined FTI Consulting in April 2013. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Balet’s experience included 15 years at MacKenzie Partners, including three years as head of their London Office.
Stephen L. Brown
KPMG Board Leadership Center
Stephen L. Brown, a Senior Advisor at KPMG Board Leadership Center, is a globally recognized governance expert, thought leader and trusted adviser to corporate boards and C-suites. Mr. Brown founded The Edgerton Group, a boutique consulting firm that advises boards and management on critical corporate governance issues. Formerly, he was the CEO of the Society of Corporate Governance. Prior to the Society, he led the corporate governance group at TIAA. Prior to TIAA, Mr. Brown practiced securities law at WilmerHale and Skadden and was an analyst with Goldman Sachs. Named by NACD as one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance and the boardroom, he is also an adjunct professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown, Yale College, and the Colin Powell School at CCNY. Mr. Brown received his B.A. with honors from Yale and his J.D. from Columbia University Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.
Arthur B. Crozier, the Chairman of Innisfree M&A Incorporated of New York and of Lake Isle M&A Incorporated, Innisfree’s wholly-owned UK subsidiary. Art’s practice includes the representation of U.S. and international clients in a wide variety of transactions and proxy contests, as well as annual and special meetings. In addition, he counsels an international roster of clients on corporate governance and executive compensation issues. Art has written numerous articles and spoken extensively on the subjects of corporate governance, proxy contests, hedge fund activism, executive compensation and international voting practices.
Duncan Herrington, CFA
Managing Director | Head of Activism Response & Contested Situations
Duncan Herrington is a Managing Director at Raymond James and the Head of its Activism Response and Contested Situations Practice. He previously served in Credit Suisse’s contested situations team, where he was responsible for advising both domestic and international clients on shareholder activism, takeover defense, contested M&A transactions and corporate governance matters. Prior to Credit Suisse, Mr. Herrington was an M&A lawyer based in the London office of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, where he specialized in structuring and executing cross-border transactions. Combined, he has more than 12 years of investment banking and M&A experience with a specialty in advising on shareholder activism and other contested matters. Mr. Herrington holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an MBA from London Business School. A CFA charterholder and a member of the State Bar of California, Herrington is based in Raymond James’ New York office.