The Enlightened Shareholder Value Principle and Corporate Governance: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Enlightened Shareholder Value Principle and Corporate Governance

1st Edition

By Andrew Keay


304 pages

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The enlightened shareholder value principle (ESV) was formulated during the comprehensive review of UK company law by the Company Law Steering Group in the late 1990s and early 2000’s and requires directors of companies to act in the collective best interests of shareholders. The principle was taken up by the then UK Government and is now embedded in the Companies Act 2006. The emergence of the principle constitutes an important development in corporate governance, particularly in determining what directors must consider when managing the affairs of their companies.

This book explains and analyzes the nature of ESV and its contribution to corporate governance whilst also examining where it fits into the existing theoretical landscape. Andrew Keay traces the development of the principle of ESV and considers it in the context of the existing principles which have historically influenced corporate governance. In doing so, the book draws on several empirical studies thereby enabling us to gauge how the ESV principle is addressed in commercial practice. Keay goes on to compare ESV with the constituency statutes that apply in the US in order to determine whether anything can be learnt from the American experience. The book also assesses the reaction of other jurisdictions to the advent of ESV and considers what impact ESV will have on financial institutions and non-financial institutions in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.


"In sum, the book constitutes a distinctive and welcome contribution to the literature on the law of directors’ duties and corporate objectives. […] its lucid argument and clarity of expression nonetheless make it eminently suited to feature on the reading lists of company law and corporate governance courses." Daniel Attenborough, The Modern Law Review

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Theoretical Background 3. The Development of ESV 4. The Duty to Promote the Success of the Company : An Analysis of Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 5. The Business Review: An Analysis of Section 417 of the Companies Act 2006 6. Constituency Statutes 7. An Evaluation of Enlightened Shareholder Value and its Impact 8. The Future 9. Epilogue

About the Author

Andrew Keay is Professor of Corporate and Commercial Law at the University of Leeds. He is also a barrister-at-law at Kings Chambers. Andrew is a specialist in corporate law and insolvency law. He recently authored the influential book, The Corporate Objective (Edward Elgar, 2011).

About the Series

Routledge Research in Corporate Law

The credit crunch of 2007 and the ensuing financial crises have led to a renewed interest in the place of corporations in the modern world and the role of law and regulation in governing their behaviour. This series looks to survey the current developments within the field of corporate law as well as mapping out future opportunities for change. The series offers a comparative approach to the subject, looking not just at North America and Europe but also at the state of affairs elsewhere in the world. Written by influential scholars, the books offer thought-provoking and often critical analyses of corporate law. The functions and legal obligations and rights of multiple stakeholders including directors, investors, governments and regulators are examined from both empirical and theoretical standpoints. Whilst being grounded in law the series also draws upon research from the disciplines of economics, management studies, sociology and politics in order to explore the implications of corporate law in their wider social and economic context.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate Finance
LAW / General
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Corporate
LAW / Ethics & Professional Responsibility