“Donaldson was a great fit for us – hard to think of anyone who would have been better. He really worked to tailor his presentation to our needs and this made him very relevant to our program. He was personable and resonated strongly.” - Rick Kuwayti, BMO Harris Nesbitt
Bringing his extensive experience in the securities and financial services industries, William Donaldson speaks about the demands for sound corporate governance and ethical leadership in an increasingly complex corporate and regulatory environment.
In this speech, Mr. Donaldson outlines a conceptual and practical approach to managerial leadership, defining the power of a “leader/ entrepreneur” vs. a “manager/administrator.”
Mr. Donaldson reflects on the actions of the SEC while he served as Chairman during the agency's most historic era since its creation in 1934. He talks about the Commission’s response to the corporate scandals that eroded investor confidence and the political and corporate efforts that sought to dilute the SEC’s reforms.
As the 27th Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, William H. Donaldson oversaw the regulation of US securities markets, ensured compliance with and enforcement of securities laws and, through corporate governance mandates, sought to ensure the protection of investors’ interests. He is Chairman of Donaldson Enterprises, a private investment firm, and Chairman of the Global Advisory Council of Perella Weinberg Partners. He currently serves as a member of the FDIC Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee and was a member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Under his leadership, the SEC focused on restoring investor confidence through targeted policy reforms including an enhanced focus on corporate governance and ethics, internal management reforms aimed at increasing the agency’s ability to anticipate challenges in the securities and financial markets, and improved disclosure of financial information to better prepare investors to make sound investment decisions appropriate for themselves and their families. The agency’s response to the challenges facing the financial markets during Mr. Donaldson’s tenure marked the greatest period of activity during the agency’s most historic era since its creation in 1934.
Mr. Donaldson has spent more than 40 years at the highest levels of business, government and academia. Prior to heading the SEC, Mr. Donaldson was Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aetna, Inc., one of the nation's largest providers of health insurance and related benefits, and before that he served as Chairman and Chief Executive of the New York Stock Exchange. Earlier in his career, he was the Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the investment banking firm of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) and helped found its wholly owned subsidiary the Alliance Capital Management Corporation.
His government service spans five presidential administrations and includes serving as Under Secretary of State to then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and Counsel and Special Adviser to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Following that, he was the Founding Dean and William S. Beinecke Professor of Management at the Yale University School of Management.
Mr. Donaldson has been director of numerous publicly held corporations and private businesses. He has also served on boards of many philanthropic, arts and educational institutions, among them the Ford Foundation, Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, Yale University, and the Aspen Institute. He has received a number of honorary degrees and awards.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Donaldson served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Far Eastern Theatre (Japan-Korea), as a rifle platoon commander and later as aide-de-camp to the Commanding General of the 1st Provisional Marine Air Ground Task Force. He holds a BA from Yale University, an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School, and he is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).