Carter, Spitzer, Feinberg—and You 

CR to Spotlight Capital Markets at Spring CRO Summit


By Jay Whitehead



Learning how to make the business case for recycling in 92 different offices in both a down economy and a recovery—now that’s a great way to make yourself obsolete. Until, of course, a desperate, underperforming, aspirational firm comes knocking. Schuyler seems unlikely to face unemployment any time this century.



If there was ever any question that we live in the Era of Responsibility, the CRO Summit in Boston April 21, 2010, will erase all doubt. The three stars of the Era appearing at the Harvard Club that day to participate in this headline-grabbing, career-propelling program will persuade Corporate Responsibility executives of all stripes to make room on their calendars. This trio will join 20 other presenters and some 250 of your peers for a day of learning, networking, and professional elevation.



First, it was back on March 12, 2008, that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer announced his resignation, saying, “Over the course of my public life, I’ve insisted, I believe correctly, that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself.”



By November 2009, Governor Spitzer was addressing a crowd at Harvard University on corporate governance. Spitzer was appearing at the invitation of Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, who called the former New York Attorney General and Governor “the most important living prosecutor on a wide range of corruption,” especially deceit in American capital markets.



And on April 21, 2010, Governor Spitzer will take the stage at the CRO Summit in Boston to share his views on the state of governance in capital markets, and the Herculean tasks facing today’s CROs.



Second, today one man owns the responsibility for regulating paychecks of the people in charge of companies who need to repay American taxpayers more than half-a-trillion dollars in federal bailout money: Kenneth Feinberg. Less than a year ago, with the rescue of America’s largest financial institutions in full roar, Feinberg was appointed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to oversee compensation at the companies that got the biggest hunks of the federal bailout: Citigroup, Bank of America, AIG, GM, Chrysler, GMAC, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley. Before that, Feinberg bore the immense burden as the special master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. It was an experience that Feinberg described to CR Editor-in-Chief Dirk Olin as “life changing.”



And on April 21, 2010, Feinberg will take the stage at the CRO Summit to impart the lessons that his heavy responsibilities have for today’s CROs.  Third, it is arguable that the Chairman of the NYSE Euronext stock market (representing $30 trillion in market capitalization, or four times more than any other exchange) is more familiar than any other actor with the new responsibilities that the recent financial crisis has dumped on company leaders. Speaking at Rensselaer in 2010, NYSE Chairman Marshall Carter, the former CEO of State Street Financial, said, “Leaders at all levels and in all industries, not just CEOs, have specific responsibilities that encompass the ethical and legal aspects of their jobs. Additionally, business leaders have economic responsibilities. They are expected to make decisions based on balancing the demands of all three.”



And on April 21, 2010, NYSE Euronext Chairman Marshall Carter will take the stage at the CRO Summit to speak to the role of the CRO in capital markets and in the modern company.



This trio—and other luminaries in and around the practice of CR—provides a depth of insight that can only be appreciated first-hand. Media accounts can provide a distillation. Webinars and streaming video can educate. But only by being there and, perhaps, joining in the give-and-take of these exclusive sessions or the networking time around them, can you absorb what the roomful of experience has to offer.



As always, CRO Association corporate members attend CRO Summits for free, and can register at Attendance is also open to non-members, as are discounted rooms at the Harvard Club hotel on-site.