TheDeal.com Executive Editor Yvette Kantrow notes that Lucian Bebchuk, director of Harvard Law School’s corporate governance center, has been getting a lot of glowing coverage in the business news media lately.
In the past two years, Bebchuk has written a book and co-authored a paper about executive compensation and how shareholders should get more of the decision-marking process. His ideas have generated a lot of articles and made Bebchuk the go-to guy for reporters writing executive comp stories.
Kantrow writes, “In early March, The Economist ran a lengthy piece on shareholder democracy that featured Bebchuk’s arguments for greater shareholder powers as well as Bainbridge’s and Strine’s arguments against them. Shortly after that, Bebchuk and Bainbridge, who appear on their way to becoming the Siskel and Ebert of shareholder rights, took their act to the Brian Lehrer Show, a call-in show on WNYC, New York’s public radio station. (To promote the segment, Lehrer borrowed an observation recently made by Marty Lipton and repeated in the lead of The Ecomonist shareholder democracy piece: ‘We have gone from the imperial CEO to the imperial stockholder.’)”
Later, she notes, “He’s not just analyzing governance theories, he’s out there actually acting on them, making the leap from academic-pundit to activist-practitioner, a sort of governance version of Paul Krugman or, closer to home, Alan Dershowitz. As a media strategy, it’s brilliant. By actually challenging those companies, Bebchuk is likely to become an even more sought-after source for reporters on the governance beat, bringing attention not only to himself, but to the governance center, Harvard Law, the university. Here’s a shareholder activist the media can warm to; who comes from the hallowed and wonky halls of Harvard, not a seedy, greedy hedge fund or self-interested union pension plan. Move over, Carl Icahn. There’s a new face of shareholder activism in town. And this one comes decked in ivy.”
Read her analysis of this new business media quote machine here.