Corporations and Society Visiting Speakers Series

The Corporations and Society Initiative hosts the nation’s leading academics and practitioners to discuss the complex and interacting forces that impact corporations and society.

This speaker series is intended to help the Stanford University community develop and explore connections between finance, business, law, and policy. Each of the speakers is involved in a variety of events around campus, including lectures, small group discussions, class visits, and individual meetings.

Featured Events

Monday, Dec 07, 2020 – Wednesday, Dec 09, 2020
Online

Join us to examine the complex interactions and balance of power among corporations, governments, and individuals in democracies today.

In an era where corporations are increasingly claiming to work in the interests of all stakeholders, workers’ rights to fair wages, benefits and treatment are in a tenuous position. Just 10% of U.S. workers are represented by a union, a 50% decrease since 1983. In California, the passage of Proposition 22 enables Uber, Lyft, Doordash and other gig companies to continue to avoid classifying their workers as employees. Even at colleges and universities, subcontractors may not receive pay continuation, may not receive hazard pay, and may lack access to COVID testing resources.

During the summer of 2020, the NAACP, the Anti Defamation League (ADL) and Color of Change teamed up on a corporate campaign to freeze Facebook ad spend. The Stop Hate For Profit campaign called on big advertisers to pull spending from Facebook. The message? “Our profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.” Quickly, socially conscious brands like REI and Patagonia got onboard. Then, big brands – Verizon, Unilever, Coca-Cola, CVS, Pfizer – joined.

Over the last two decades, Amazon has risen to become one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world—and many have started to call into question the tactics that it has used and is using to get to and stay at the top. CASI welcomed Stacy Mitchell, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a staunch advocate for policies that help level the playing field for independent businesses and curb corporate power, for a conversation with MBA ’21 Susannah Shattuck about the risks that Amazon poses to consumers, workers, and the market if it continues to dominate unchecked.

After the political disruption seeded through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms in the 2016 Presidential Election, many are wondering if the internet is just as damaging to democracy as it is beneficial, both in the United States and around the world. On Wednesday, October 7, the CASI hosted a conversation with Marietje Schaake, a Dutch politician who served as Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands between 2009 and 2019, moderated by Anat Admati, George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics and Faculty Director of CASI.

2019–20 Speakers

Our Democracy in a Time of Pandemic: A Conversation with Senator Sherrod Brown
00:53:18
Our Democracy in a Time of Pandemic: A Conversation with Senator Sherrod Brown
On Wednesday, May 27, the Corporations and Society Initiative hosted a conversation with United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), moderated by Susannah Shattuck, MBA '21, with introduction by Professor Anat Admati, the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics. The discussion covered topics including the legislative process, workers' rights, voting rights, and international trade.
Surveillance Technology Governance
01:00:34
Surveillance Technology Governance
As the world rushes to put contact tracing and illness-tracking tools in place to enable effective response to the coronavirus pandemic, privacy experts are raising concerns about exactly how this technology will be built and governed.

The Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School co-sponsored a panel discussion on the use and governance of surveillance technology during (and after) the coronavirus pandemic. Our panelists shared their thoughts on how to align private and public sector interests to benefit society and support public health efforts, while also preserving privacy and civil rights.
The U.S. Healthcare System and COVID-19: What Are We Learning?
00:59:18
The U.S. Healthcare System and COVID-19: What Are We Learning?
COVID-19 has put substantial stress on every aspect of the U.S. healthcare system, from hospitals, to insurers, to the medical supply chain, to employers responsible for the wellbeing of their employees. Watch a panel discussion on the U.S. healthcare system and COVID-19 with Stanford Medicine Professor Dr. Kevin Schulman and Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, moderated Karin Underwood MBA ‘19, founder of digital health nonprofit CoachMe Health.
The Dark Side of Global Finance: A Talk with David Enrich
00:56:42
The Dark Side of Global Finance: A Talk with David Enrich
A conversation with MBA ’21 Ben Ruxin about Enrich's book, "Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump and an Epic Trail of Destruction."
COVID-19 Bailout Debate: Must Bailouts Go Through the Banking System?
00:02:28
COVID-19 Bailout Debate: Must Bailouts Go Through the Banking System?
GSB Finance Professors Arvind Krishnamurthy, Hanno Lustig, and Amit Seru joined moderator Professor Anat Admati to debate the objectives, policies, and implementation strategies of the U.S. government’s recent COVID-19 stimulus packages. This video is an excerpt from the longer conversation.
COVID-19 Bailout Debate: Does the Government Have the Necessary Expertise?
00:01:14
COVID-19 Bailout Debate: Does the Government Have the Necessary Expertise?
GSB Finance Professors Arvind Krishnamurthy, Hanno Lustig, and Amit Seru joined moderator Professor Anat Admati to debate the objectives, policies, and implementation strategies of the U.S. government’s recent COVID-19 stimulus packages. This video is an excerpt from the longer conversation.
COVID-19 Bailout Debate: Taxpayers' Money, Handle with Care
00:01:14
COVID-19 Bailout Debate: Taxpayers' Money, Handle with Care
GSB Finance Professors Arvind Krishnamurthy, Hanno Lustig, and Amit Seru joined moderator Professor Anat Admati to debate the objectives, policies, and implementation strategies of the U.S. government’s recent COVID-19 stimulus packages.
How Big Business Influences Government: A Conversation with Professor Thomas Philippon
00:59:43
How Big Business Influences Government: A Conversation with Professor Thomas Philippon
The Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford GSB hosts a discussion, with Professor Thomas Philippon of NYU Stern School of Business and CASI faculty director and GSB Professor of Finance Anat Admati, about Philippon's book: "The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets."

2018–2019 Speakers

Are We All “Zucked”?: Technology and Power in the Internet Age
01:03:16
Are We All “Zucked”?: Technology and Power in the Internet Age
A conversation about technology, power, and accountability with best selling author Roger McNamee, moderated by veteran journalist Ann Grimes.
Who Controls the Corporation? A Conversation with BlackRock's Barbara Novick
01:03:37
Who Controls the Corporation? A Conversation with BlackRock's Barbara Novick
A conversation with BlackRock's Barbara Novick on the meaning of shareholder ownership and the values that shareholders should expect from companies.
From Tesla to Wells Fargo: Scandal, Success and Accountability in Corporate America
01:02:34
From Tesla to Wells Fargo: Scandal, Success and Accountability in Corporate America
Recent cases in many business sectors illustrate the preventable harms caused, and millions of dollars in fines paid, by corporations in the United States and elsewhere. From longstanding issues like financial fraud to emerging questions like consumer data privacy, business leaders are seeking better approaches to address these challenges and avoid negative publicity, short sellers betting against the company, and legal jeopardy. To help prepare Stanford GSB’s future business leaders, the Corporations and Society Initiative is convening a conversation with three experts in legal, reputational, and financial risk to explore causes of, and solutions to, corporate scandals.
Investigative Reporter at The Wall Street Journal

In Bad Blood, prize-winning journalist John Carreyrou details the rapid rise and dramatic fall of bio-tech startup Theranos. Founded in 2003 by charismatic Stanford dropout Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos promised to revolutionize medical care by quickly and cheaply delivering a broad range of diagnostics from a single pinprick of blood. Investors threw money at the company, which reached a peak valuation of over $9 billion, as political luminaries stacked the company’s board. The only problem? The technology didn’t work. Carreyrou recounts his riveting story of one of the biggest scandals ever to hit Silicon Valley – a story of corporate malfeasance, failed oversight, and lax regulation.

Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation

Lee Drutman, PhD, is a senior fellow in the program on political reform at the New America Foundation and a visiting fellow at GuideStar USA. An expert on lobbying, influence, and money in politics, he has been quoted and/or cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, Slate, Mother Jones, Vox, Politico, and many other publications, and on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Planet Money, This American Life, Marketplace, Washington Journal, and The Colbert Report, among other programs. Drutman was previously a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation. He has also worked in the U.S. Senate and at the Brookings Institution. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. from Brown University.

Chairman and CEO at Young & Rubican

Peter Georgescu went from a Soviet-style labor camp in Romania, to first-class education at Exeter, Princeton, and Stanford, and continued on to Young & Rubicam where he rose through the ranks to become Chairman and CEO. Peter is an author and speaker, devoted to income equality and opportunity for all Americans. His remarkable experiences of hardship and oppression, combined with his business career, give him a unique perspective on the challenges facing our society.

Associate Dean for Business and Impact at the Ross School of Business

Jerry Davis is the Gilbert and Ruth Whitaker Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business and Professor of Sociology, The University of Michigan. Davis received his PhD from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Davis’s research is broadly concerned with corporate governance, finance and society, and new forms of organizations. Recent writings examine how ideas about corporate social responsibility have evolved to meet changes in the structures and geographic footprint of multinational corporations; whether “shareholder capitalism” is still a viable model for economic development; how income inequality in an economy is related to corporate size and structure; why theories about organizations do (or do not) progress; how architecture shapes social networks and innovation in organizations; why stock markets spread to some countries and not others; and whether there exist viable organizational alternatives to shareholder-owned corporations in the United States.

SEC Commisioner

Commissioner Stein was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was sworn in on August 9, 2013. Commissioner Stein joined the Commission after serving as Senior Policy Advisor for securities and banking matters to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed. From 2009 to 2013, she was Staff Director of the Securities, Insurance, and Investment Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. During that time, Commissioner Stein played an integral role in drafting and negotiating significant provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Before working in the U.S. Senate, Commissioner Stein was an associate at the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, an assistant professor with the University of Dayton School of Law, an Advocacy Fellow with the Georgetown University Law Center, and a Skadden Public Interest Fellow. Commissioner Stein received her B.A. from Yale College and J.D. from Yale Law School.

Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair

Bethany McLean is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, a position she has held since 2008. She is also the co-author of "The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron" and co-author of "All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis." McLean is also editor-at-large and a columnist for Fortune magazine, where she began working in 1995 as a reporter. She spent three years working as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs after graduating from Williams College in 1992 with a double major in math and English.

Professor at Chicago Booth School of Business

Luigi Zingales co-developed the Financial Trust Index, which is designed to monitor the level of trust that Americans have toward their financial system. In addition to holding his position at Chicago Booth, Zingales is currently a faculty research fellow for the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research fellow for the Center for Economic Policy Research, and a fellow of the European Governance Institute. He is also an editorialist for Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian equivalent of the Financial Times. Zingales also serves on the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, which has been examining the legislative, regulatory, and legal issues affecting how public companies function. In 2014 he was the President of the American Finance Association. In July 2015 he became the director of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago which he is refocusing on promoting and diffusing research on regulatory capture and the various distortions that special interest groups impose on capitalism. Zingales received a bachelor's degree in economics summa cum laude from Università Bocconi in Italy in 1987 and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1992.

Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at Yale University School of Management

Fiona M. Scott Morton is the Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at the Yale University School of Management where she has been on the faculty since 1999. Her area of academic research is empirical industrial organization, with a focus on empirical studies of competition in areas such as pricing, entry, and product differentiation. Her published articles range widely across industries, from magazines, to shipping, to pharmaceuticals, to internet retailing, and are published in leading economics journals. From 2011-12 Professor Scott Morton served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she helped enforce the nation’s antitrust laws. At Yale SOM she teaches courses in the area of competitive strategy. She served as Associate Dean from 2007-10 and she won the School’s teaching award twice. She has served in an editing role on various academic economics journals, has won several research grants from the National Science Foundation, and is a Research Associate at NBER. Professor Scott Morton has a BA from Yale and a PhD from MIT, and previously taught at the Graduate Schools of Business at the University of Chicago and Stanford University. She is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences across the United States and Europe. Professor Scott Morton lives in New Haven, Connecticut with her husband and three children.

George E. Barrett Professor of Law and Finance at University of San Diego

Frank Partnoy is the founding director of the Center for Corporate and Securities Law at the University of San Diego. An expert on the complexities of modern finance and financial market regulation, he the author of several books and numerous scholarly articles about the culture of banking, ethics, disclosure, and governance, as well as recent academic work on shareholder activism, financial regulation, and the role of the corporation in society. Professor Partnoy also has written dozens of essays for publications including The Atlantic, The New York Times, and the Financial Times. Professor Partnoy has testified as an expert before both houses of Congress. During the 1990s, he worked as a derivatives structurer at Morgan Stanley and CS First Boston and wrote F.I.A.S.C.O.: Blood in the Water on Wall Street, a best-selling book about his experiences there. His most recent book is WAIT: The Art and Science of Delay.

Former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury

Aside from overseeing and directing a broad range of issues at the Treasury Department, Deputy Secretary Raskin focuses on the macroeconomic impact of student loan borrowing and cybersecurity, as well as drivers that bolster and sustain U.S. and global economic growth and recovery. Raskin was formerly a governor of the Federal Reserve Board, where she served on the Federal Open Market Committee, regulated banking institutions, monitored threats to financial stability, oversaw compliance and community development, and engaged in oversight of the nation’s payment systems. Before joining the federal government, she was commissioner of financial regulation for the State of Maryland from 2007 to 2010, responsible for regulating Maryland’s financial institutions during and after the financial crisis.

Professor of Economics and Warden of All Souls College at Oxford University

Professor Vickers was knighted in 2005 in recognition of his public service as head of the UK’s Office of Free Trading, following previous posts as chief economist of the Bank of England and as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, the body in control of UK interest rates. However, he is perhaps best known for chairing the Independent Commission on Banking in 2010–11, which recommended fundamental reform to improve stability and competition in UK banking after the global financial crisis. Vickers’ scholarly research interests span theory and policy, especially relating to competition and regulation. Currently, he is working on questions in incentive theory, the theory of multiproduct monopoly, and bundling.

Senior Reporter at ProPublica

Jesse Eisinger is a senior reporter at ProPublica. In April 2011, he and a colleague won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series of stories on questionable Wall Street practices that helped make the financial crisis the worst since the Great Depression. He won the 2015 Gerald Loeb Award for commentary. He has also twice been a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. He was a regular columnist for The New York Times’s Dealbook section. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, NewYorker.com, The Washington Post, The Baffler, The American Prospect, and on NPR and “This American Life.” Before joining ProPublica, he was the Wall Street Editor of Conde Nast Portfolio and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, covering markets and finance. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the journalist Sarah Ellison, and their daughters.

U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York

Jed Rakoff, who is a federal judge for the court that covers New York’s financial district, has been called by the Los Angeles Times “the strongest voice on the bench for bringing Wall Street wrongdoers to justice.” Famously outspoken, he is the author of author of five books, 135 published articles, 600 speeches, and 1500 judicial opinions. He also writes regularly for the New York Review of Books. Judge Rakoff was nominated to the court in 1966, after serving as a federal prosecutor and chief of financial crimes prosecutions in the Southern District, followed by 15 years of “white collar” criminal defense. Since 1988, he has also been an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School, teaching four upper level courses.