Ex-Corporate Lawyer Wants to Help Boards Stop Acting Like Sociopaths

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Ex-Corporate Lawyer Wants to Help Boards Stop Acting Like SociopathsA retired partner at one of the biggest law firms in corporate America has a request for some of his old clients: please quit acting like sociopaths. Even if it's not your fault. American Psycho Jamie Gamble was a former partner at the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which counted Facebook, General Motors and Google as clients. He retired to work on a novel, and stumbled upon an idea he knows might upset his former co-workers. Corporate executives and boards, like the ones he worked for and tried to protect, as he wrote in an essay included in his novel, “are legally obligated to act like sociopaths.” He argued that corporate entities are obligated to care only about themselves and “to define what is good as what makes it more money,” which he notes is “pretty close to a textbook case of antisocial personality disorder.” Blame Game Gamble knows his essay might ruffle some feathers, but he doesn't blame his old clients. He thinks the problem is that many corporate governance structures requires corporations to care about profit and little else. He argues that all companies should adopt a set of bylaws to be approved by shareholders, who can sue if they are broken. These rules will dictate how the company treats its employees, the environment, customers and the "communities in which they produce and sell.” Big Gamble This proposal might be news to come executives, but it's something activists have been saying for a long time. There's a movement afoot to reform corporate America, from calls to have more worker representation on company boards, to diversify boards to Google shareholders demanding the company take a more active stance in battling climate change and discrimination. -Michael Tedder photo: Adobe Stock


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