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Director Roundtable: Stakeholder Capitalism

March 4, 2013

“In Germany, still a manufacturing and export powerhouse, average hourly pay has risen five times faster since 1985 than in the United States. The secret of Germany's success, says Klaus Kleinfeld, who ran the German electrical giant Siemens before taking over the American aluminum company Alcoa in 2008, is "the social contract: the willingness of business, labor and political leaders to put aside some of their differences and make agreements in the national interest." 
                                       -When Capitalists Cared, NY Times Op Ed, 09/02/2012

In this discussion with Hedrick Smith, Dr. Kleinfeld shares his experience and perspective on the stakeholder capitalist model that he experienced in Germany and how he thinks it could help the U.S. move back to long-term sustainable growth.


  • Dr. Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman & CEO, Alcoa Inc.; Trustee, The Conference Board
    Read Bio
  • Hedrick Smith, Author, Who Stole the American Dream?; former Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief, The New York Times
    Read Bio


The Interview


Program Materials

When Capitalists Cared
The New York Times | September, 2012
In the rancorous debate over how to get the sluggish economy moving, we have forgotten the wisdom of Henry Ford. In 1914, not long after the Ford Motor Company came out with the Model T, Ford made the startling announcement that he would pay his workers the unheard-of wage of $5 a day.

Preserving Balance in Corporate Governance
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP | January 2012
Last year, Weil wrote about the need to restore trust in our system of corporate governance generally and in relations between boards of directors and shareholders specifically. We continue to be troubled by the tensions that have developed over roles and responsibilities in the corporate governance framework for public companies. The board’s fundamental mandate under state law – to “manage and direct” the operations of the company – is under pressure, facilitated by federal regulation that gives shareholders advisory votes on subjects where they do not have decision rights either under corporate law or charter.

Capitalism for the Long Term
Harvard Business Review | March 2011
As the current financial crisis and the Great Recession begin to ease, executives may be tempted to heave a sigh of relief and return to the comfort of business as usual. But doing so would constitute a serious mistake for their companies-and a grave disservice to capitalism itself, argues Dominic Barton, the global managing director of McKinsey & Company.

Overcoming Short-termism
A Call for a More Responsible Approach to Investment and Business Management
The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program | September 2009
Twenty-eight leaders representing business, investment, government, academia, and labor joining the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program's Corporate Values Strategy Group (CVSG) to endorse a bold call to end the focus on value-destroying short-termism in our financial markets and create public policies that reward long-term value creation for investors and the public good.

 Additional Resources from The Conference Board

Stakeholder Dialogue in Germany, Italy, and the United States
July, 2012 | Director Notes
This Director Notes describes the results of an international survey on 249 stakeholder dialogue (SD) initiatives undertaken by firms in Germany, Italy, and the United States.

Collaboration Between Multistakeholder Standards: A Governance Perspective
June, 2012 | Director Notes
This report examines the nature, benefits, and shortcomings of existing multistakeholder corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards, and it discusses how businesses can better coordinate their participation in a variety of initiatives.

The Intangible Drivers of Future Performance and Value
March, 2012 | Special Webcast
The infrastructure driving shareholder and stakeholder value in today’s business is made up of intangible (rather than tangible) assets. Learn what’s behind this shift and how to measure, manage and monetize the intangibles behind your company’s success.


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