The Honorable J. Travis Laster, Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery, 2021 John L. Weinberg Distinguished Speaker - 5/12/2021
From Louisa Cresson on May 18th, 2021
The John L. Weinberg Distinguished Speaker series was begun by the Center as part of the Center’s initiative to highlight a prominent speaker who focuses on current and relevant corporate governance topics. This year we were delighted to host The Honorable J. Travis Laster, Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery.
Vice Chancellor Laster’s talk is titled “Purpose, Power, and Fiduciary Duty: Dimensions of Delaware’s Corporate Law Regime.” A short description of his talk follows:
The past two years have witnessed a reinvigorated debate over the purpose of the corporation, framed as a contest between a duty to prioritize the interests of stockholders and the ability to consider and balance the interests of multiple stakeholders. Delaware adheres to a traditional view of corporate law. That view, which dates back to the nineteenth century, imposes fiduciary duties on directors to pursue the best interests of the corporation for the ultimate benefit of its stockholders. But that view does not require that directors relentlessly seek to maximize the share price, nor that they follow the wishes of the holders of a majority of the shares. To the contrary, that view obligates directors to promote the long-term value of the corporation as a presumptively permanent entity, for the benefit of investors who have committed their capital indefinitely to the firm. Properly understood, a stockholder-oriented perspective requires the longest of long-term views, which necessarily requires consideration of stakeholder interests, as well as broader societal and environmental concerns.This discussion and the issues highlighted are extremely important and timely.