The emergence in Europe of shareholder activists illustrates a new trend in shareholder behavior. Shareholder activists invest with a specific agenda, often disrupting established governance patterns. This has included proxy fights to replace entire boards (such as at Yahoo), firing and replacing CEOs after major losses, or appointing activists themselves to the boards of major companies (such as Microsoft, General Electric, ABB and, in France, Rexel).
The number of activist campaigns has dramatically increased, while assets under activists’ management have tripled within the last five years.
Eager to take an active part in a company’s direction and to bring fundamental changes to corporate strategy and governance, shareholders activists are mostly perceived as troublemakers and short-term investors.
However, shareholder activism encapsulates a wide range of investor types and styles, from aggressive to constructive ones. This variety of profiles in shareholder activism raises several critical questions:
- What is the definition of shareholder activism?
- What is a constructive activist versus a “regular” activist ?
- Why has activism increased so rapidly?
- What do activists look for in a company?
- What is the role of a board of directors when an activist approaches it?
- Do activists often join boards?
- Can we expect hostile US activists to come to France?
Keynote speaker Harlan Zimmerman will share his experience as a Senior Partner at Cevian Capital, Europe’s largest activist. He will present the fund’s strategy and provide his insight into the activist trend.
Harlan Zimmerman is a Senior Partner at Cevian Capital, with responsibilities across investment, engagement and business matters of the firm. He opened the firm’s London office in 2007, and has worked with Cevian since 2003.
He attended the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned an MBA in Finance from Wharton and an MA in International Relations. He earned a BA in International Relations and Russian from the University of California, Davis. He is a dual US/UK citizen and has lived in London since 1992.
Please note that the event will take place in English.
* Dress Code : veste et cravate obligatoires pour les hommes - tenue de ville pour les femmes