The importance of the board of directors. Lessons from Lehman's failure

Emilia Klepczarek



Motivation: The effective functioning of the board is usually considered a key factor to minimize conflicts agency. In the literature, the composition of the board, including its size and the fraction of independent members is often pointed out as one of the most important elements determining the effectiveness of its work. The research on the effectiveness of supervision also analyze the activities of board committees, frequency of their meetings, separation of functions Chairman of the Board and CEO and the participation of women. It seems to be an interesting observation that research on the effects of the mentioned factors on the firms performance do not produce clear results. This may lead to a conclusion that one should use some qualitative methods to investigate the corporate governance procedures in the individual entity and work out their possible consequences for the analyzed institution. The case of Lehman Brothers seems to be a good choice for this kind of research as its collapse in 2008 may be found as the evidence for wrong supervision and managing mechanisms. Finding the possible causes of its bankruptcy should give then some guidelines to the proposals of improving the corporate governance systems.

Aim: The purpose of this article is to analyze the conditions under which the board the Lehman Brothers performed supervision and find the cause of irregularities in this area.

Results: The study shows that one cannot unambiguously state that all the board directors were competent, able to commit enough time for controlling and independent.


corporate governance; Lehman Brothers; risk management; financial crisis

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