Jon Lukomnik wins top awardAugust 2013
Jon Lukomnik, executive director of the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi), has won the 2013 International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance. Ralph Whitworth, founder and principal of relational investors, was awarded the Lifetime Achiever Award, and a special posthumous award was given to the late Michael O’Sullivan, former president of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors.
Widely known as a thought leader in corporate governance and corporate responsibility issues for 30 years, Lukomik’s acceptance speech challenged the status quo. “Are we, as shareowners, fit for purpose?” he asked the 500 ICGN delegates. “For more than a quarter of a century, I and others have called for shareholder empowerment as the antidote to the excesses of capitalism. But do we today exhibit and facilitate those same excesses? Have we morphed, in some horrible Kafkesque way, from the solution to the problem; from the hope of responsible, engaged ownership to just another short-term market participant eager to get our share without concern about the long-term health of the economy and the world?”
Lukomnik called on shareowners and organizations like the ICGN to go beyond examining individual companies to look at the financial ecosystem itself. He said, “Unless we rebuke short-term greed and act as responsible owners, we will face increased and deserved criticism, a despoiled environment, a fractured society, and the reprobation of our children.
“We need to replace traders with investors, and investors with owners. We need to return to investing strategies that favor real long-term growth, that improve not just our portfolios but the real economy as well.”
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