NAPLES, Florida – Laura M. Holm, a partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, has been scheduled to discuss shareholder activism and high-profile shareholder campaigns against the directors of public companies in Florida at the South Florida Chapter of Women Corporate Directors (WCD) meeting. The title of her presentation is "Shareholder Activism and Corporate Governance Practices."
According to the website Investopedia, shareholder activism is defined as: “Shareholder activism is a way in which shareholders can influence a corporation's behavior by exercising their rights as owners. Although shareholders don't run a company, there are ways for them to influence the board of directors and management.”
Holm is well known in the Florida legal community. Every year since 2010 she has been included in South Florida’s Top Lawyers Legal Guide; in addition, for the past 10 years she has been a part of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite in the Corporate/Business Law division. She has also been listed in The Best Lawyers in America.
Holm told the Florida Record: “This is a big, current issue and I want to educate (members of the WCD) on what a board’s fiduciary responsibilities are when there is an activist. This is a new norm for corporate boards. In the '80s there were 'hostile takeovers' and that’s really evolved over the years to shareholder activism.”
Holm went on to say that this is one of two “hot topics” facing corporations, the other being cyber security.
According to their website, the WCD comprises members who “... are among the world’s most powerful and influential women in business today – the global business elite, who are at the top of their organizations – serving as directors, CEOs, COOs, divisional presidents, and other executive positions. WCD members are on boards of public and/or large privately held companies, as well as large family businesses.”
Holm said: “Activism can take many forms, it can be a shareholder writing a letter because they are unhappy with an executive’s compensation package to a group of shareholders coming together and saying to a board of directors, ‘Look, there are two divisions, this one isn’t doing well so we want you to sell it off.’”
Holm joined Quarles & Brady LLP in 2014 in their Naples office, heading up the Corporate Services Practice Group. She graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College and received her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. A WCD member, she chose to practice Corporate Law because she “...always liked business and it’s an opportunity to be collaborative. I’ve had clients for 10 years and I have a relationship with them that is part lawyer and part business adviser.”
The South Florida Chapter of Women Corporate Directors will be held on Dec. 15 at Mortons Steakhouse in North Miami Beach. Along with Holm, Ken Hallett, head of the Securities Law Group at Quarles & Brady will also speak.