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The Public Company Transformed$
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Brian Cheffins

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190640323

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190640323.001.0001

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The 2000s

The 2000s

The Decade from Hell

(p.277) 6 The 2000s
The Public Company Transformed

Brian R. Cheffins

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the 2000s, which for public companies and the executives who ran them was akin to “the decade from hell.” The stock market performed poorly, the number of public companies declined substantially, and scandals in the early 2000s and the financial crisis of 2008 greatly eroded confidence in big business. A deregulatory trend that began in the late 1970s was reversed, epitomized by the enactment of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. A casualty of the bad news for public companies was the imperial-style CEO who featured prominently as the 1990s drew to a close. Those running banks nevertheless enjoyed a corporate governance “free pass” in the mid-2000s that arguably contributed to the onset of the financial crisis.

Keywords:   corporate scandals, Enron, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, corporate governance, chief executives, private equity, shareholder activism, financial crisis, banks

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