The Activist Director
Lessons from the Boardroom and the Future of the Corporation
Ira M. Millstein
Columbia Business School Publishing
December 20, 2016

Ira M. Millstein has spent more than fifty years working with, advising, and advocating new directions for nonprofit and corporate boards of directors. His work has encompassed the near-bankruptcy of New York City in the 1970s, the meltdown of Drexel Burnham Lambert in the late 1980s, and the turnaround of General Motors in the mid-1990s. For the past ten years, Millstein has led the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership, first at the Yale School of Management and now at Columbia Law School. The Center brings world-class scholarship, research, and academic rigor to the question of boards’ and investors’ responsibility to restore and strengthen long-term financing of innovative and durable public corporations.

In his forthcoming book THE ACTIVIST DIRECTOR Millstein forcefully argues that the critical work of boards of directors is often left undone. Some of the worst corporate meltdowns over the past sixty years can be traced to passive directors who favored operational shortcuts over quality growth strategies. Thinking primarily about placating institutional investors, selective stockholders, proxy advisors, and corporate management, these inattentive and deferential board members have relied on short-term share price increases to sustain their companies in the long term.

Millstein advocates for a new breed of activist directors who take responsibility for corporate ownership. These men and women must think of themselves as active and integral players in their companies’ growth strategies. By partnering with management, a director can work to shape the company’s future based on long-term growth and innovation. This is an important book for anyone interested in the future of American corporations.