Stanford Law School today announced the launch of the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University (the “Rock Center”). Rock is a pioneering venture capitalist who helped found Apple Computer, Intel, Scientific Data Systems, Teledyne, and many other successful firms. His wife, Toni Rembe–the first female partner of the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop LLP, where she served as managing partner in the tax department and as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee–is a director of AT&T and AEGON N.V., and has served as president of the Commonwealth Club and of the American Conservatory Theatre. The Rocks have donated $10 million to Stanford Law School to fund the Rock Center. It is believed to be the largest gift for the study of corporate governance in academic history.
“Innovation and new ventures fuel the global economy but the spark comes from investment,” Arthur Rock said. “Investment is about trust. It’s about knowing that the people investors entrust with their money are running ethical, transparent and effective businesses. Stanford Law School has a demonstrated track record of leadership in the field of corporate governance. We are pleased to support their efforts.”
The Rock Center will sponsor a series of programs designed to deepen the understanding of the governance process, enhance the quality of governance-related education, and improve the practice of governance around the world.
The first of these programs, the “Governance and the Regulators” conference series, holds its inaugural session in Washington, D.C. on April 3, 2006, and addresses the SEC’s proposed executive compensation disclosure rules. This conference series will provide a public forum in which regulators can interact with leading scholars and industry experts as they craft rules that affect the governance process. The Rock Center’s conference series is designed to narrow the gap between state-of-the-art scholarship and the regulatory process while promoting more cost effective, socially beneficial regulation.
Among the Rock Center’s other early initiatives are:
1. A series of research programs designed to bridge the gap between theory and practice by, for example, studying the ability to predict the incidence of fraud, examining international trends in corporate governance, and exploring the future of the audit industry;
2. A series of conferences for the press and judiciary on matters related to corporate governance;
3. The creation of new teaching materials designed for business schools and practicing executives that emphasize the importance of compliance with the law in addition to more traditional materials relating to business ethics;
4. The launch of an open source database that will provide timely, detailed, and sophisticated information about the governance characteristics of all major publicly traded corporations, including an ability to generate a wide variety of “governance scores,” all of which will be transparent to users and offered at no charge to the public.
The Rock Center will be located at Stanford Law School and directed by Professors Robert Daines and Joseph Grundfest. Daines, the Pritzker Professor of Law and Business at Stanford, is a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, and is widely recognized for his rigorous statistical analysis of empirical data on the relationship between economic theory and the operation of corporate institutions in practice. Grundfest, the W. A. Franke Professor of Law and Business at Stanford, was a Commissioner of the SEC from 1985 to 1990. He also currently serves as a director of Oracle Corp. and is a co-founder and director of Financial Engines.
Stanford Law School is a recognized leader in the field of corporate governance. Its Directors’ College program, launched in 1993, is today the nation’s premier venue for the continuing education of corporate directors. The Law School also operates Fiduciary College, an educational program for public and private sector fiduciaries with responsibility for investing hundreds of billions of dollars, and the Stanford Institutional Investors Forum, a semi-annual program attended by the nation’s largest and most sophisticated institutional investors.
The Rock Center will be unique among other university programs on corporate governance. The Stanford Law School faculty has more than 13 years of hands-on experience in working with regulators to develop practical applications from theoretical scholarship, and institute best practices on an accelerated timeline. In addition, the Rock Center will use technology in new ways to help improve the governance process. Finally, the Rock Center will benefit from participation by faculty and students drawn from Stanford’s leading programs in business, communication, economics, engineering and law.
“We are thrilled to start the Rock Center and feel privileged to have it begun by someone like Arthur Rock, whose life and work have been central in creating the Silicon Valley,” said Larry Kramer, dean of the Stanford Law School. “Our goal, like Arthur’s, is nothing less than to transform corporate governance in the United States and abroad. It is imperative to restore public trust in business and to do so in a way that fuels rather than impedes growth. The resources that can be brought to bear at Stanford–in law, business, economics, and engineering–will enable us to tackle problems in new ways. And with the help and participation of the business community itself, the Rock Center can and will become a source for problem solving, new thinking, and great scholarship in this most important of domains.”
Arthur Rock has been a major player in the development of Silicon Valley for more than four decades. As one of the founding fathers of venture capital–and the man credited with coining the term–Rock has played the role of catalyst and financier to some of the most famous companies in high technology. He is known for his ability to recognize opportunities ahead of others and invest early in ventures that come to dominate the industry. In keeping with his tradition, the field of corporate governance is still nascent, and the Rock Center is being created at Stanford with the vision of becoming the world’s premier intellectual center for the improvement of corporate governance.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching. The school’s home page is located at www.law.stanford.edu.