For this webinar, hosted by CommPro.biz Contributing Editor Gene Marbach, we have assembled a panel of experts, all of whom bring to the discussion extensive experience in advising companies on how to prepare and defend against shareholder activists to discuss how the lack of careful attention to board composition issues can make a company unduly vulnerable to shareholder activists.
Gene Marbach, a CommPro.biz Contributing Editor. Gene focuses on communications and business-related topics with insights informed by his more than 30 years of experience in investor relations and corporate communications, most recently as group vice president at Makovsky + Company, an investor relations and public relations firm. Gene is a prolific commentator on issues relating to investor relations and corporate communications and a frequent speaker and moderator at webinars and seminars focused on best practices in investor relations and corporate communications as well as evolving practices such as the use of social media to communicate with investors, whether in the context of a company’s routine quarterly earnings announcements or less routine events such as planning for an IPO, responding to an activist shareholder, executing an M&A strategy or responding to a crisis.
Steven Balet, a Managing Director at FTI Consulting’s Strategic Communications practice. Over the past 20 years, Steven has developed extensive experience advising public companies and hedge funds of all sizes on contested proxy campaigns; corporate-governance issues; and mergers and acquisitions (M&As). He also has extensive experience working with issuers to develop the most effective messaging for delivering the vote; and routinely counsels clients on how to engage third-party advisory groups, such as Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). Leveraging best-in-class analysis that he has accumulated on various activist stockholders and their techniques, Steven drives messaging, strategic planning and influencer engagement to insulate his clients from proxy threats in and outside of proxy season.
James Golden is a partner with Joele Frank, the strategic communications firm. Jim provides communications counsel for clients across a wide spectrum of industries, with a particular focus on the financial services sector. His areas of expertise include; financial services, mergers & acquisitions, shareholder activism, restructuring & bankruptcy, and investor & public relations. Jim joined Joele Frank in 2005. Previously he worked in Deutsche Bank’s Institutional Client Sales Group and prior to that he was with Standish Mellon Asset Management of Boston on its fixed income trading desk. He serves on the Board of Directors of Community Access, a non-profit organization that transitions the formerly homeless to independent living. Jim received a BS in organizational communications, cum laude, from Northeastern University.
Keith E. Gottfried, a partner in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s Business and Finance Practice and leads the firm’s shareholder activism defense practice. Mr. Gottfried concentrates his practice on advising public companies, including their boards of directors and special committees, with regard to proxy contests, activist shareholder campaigns, contests for corporate control, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, securities regulation, and New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ compliance. Over the course of a legal career that spans more than 20 years, Mr. Gottfried has been involved in numerous high-profile proxy contests, unsolicited bids, and mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Gottfried is frequently quoted by the national business media on issues relating to shareholder activism and is the author of numerous articles discussing strategies that companies and their boards of directors can take to prepare for and respond to proxy contests and other activist shareholder campaigns.
Steven Pantina is a senior managing director and head of Georgeson’s research division. He has a broad array of experience in the field of corporate governance, including advising Fortune 500 companies on matters relating to annual and special meetings, mergers, tender offers and other corporate actions. Steve has been a contributing author to a variety of different publications, including the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals’ “Manual for Solicitation of Proxies” and The Conference Board’s “Shareholder Activism Report: Best Practices and Engagement Tools for Public Companies.” He has also authored Georgeson’s “Annual Corporate Governance Review” since 2005. Steve is a member of the American Bar Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Rider University and a juris doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law.