Cynthia E. Clark, PhD., is a corporate governance and business ethics expert focusing on shareholder activism, ESG issues, proxy disclosures and data privacy. She has conducted multiple training sessions on ethical decision-making, activism and optimal nominating and governance procedures to senior management or boards of directors at organizations such as KPMG, Morgan Stanley, PwC, Choate, Hall & Stewart and State Street Corporation, to name a few. She has been widely cited in the media on governance issues including The Wall Street Journal, Institutional Investor, The Boston Globe, CNN, Forbes, Reuters and Bloomberg Radio.
Cynthia is the founding director of the Harold S. Geneen Institute of Corporate Governance – an institute dedicated to applying board of director research to practice. As director, she has been responsible for conducting large-scale research and delivering thought leadership symposia. In this capacity, she has analyzed thousands of shareholder resolution proposals and the way in which firms address conflicts of interest, proxy voting, data privacy, and disclosing material and ESG information. Recent work examines how companies in the S&P 1500 vary in their approach to nominating committee processes with regard to gender diversity.
From 2016 – 2018 she served as the ethics and governance advisor to the pre & post IPO Origin Bank (NASDAQ: OBNK) board of directors, a $4b broadly diversified bank. Cynthia is a governance fellow with the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), is a member of the Society for Governance Professionals and is active in 50/50 Women on Boards; she presents regularly at all three. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Boston Regional Business Ethics Network. In 2015, she helped establish the International Corporate Governance Society (ICGS) and served on its board during its first 5 years. She serves on the development committee of the Boston Public Library and volunteers with the Steppingstone Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.
Cynthia is a former financial services industry executive working for Prudential Securities in New York City with the president of the retail brokerage network, who oversaw some 6,000 branches, and for Bank of Boston as a relationship manager for its banking and mutual fund clients.
She is the author of two recent books: Giving Voice to Values in the Boardroom (2020) and Business & Society: Ethical, Legal, Digital Environments (2020). She is also the author of Trust Diffusion: How Creating Climates of Trust Influence Organizational Effectiveness (2008). She is widely published in top-tier business and academic journals like Harvard Business Review, Business Horizons, Strategic Management Journal, Business Ethics Quarterly, Management Information Systems Quarterly and Journal of Business Ethics. Her work received the McLaughlin Prize for Research in Accounting Ethics in 2019, the Emerald Publishing Citations of Excellence Award in 2015 and Best Article at the Strategic Management Society in 2013. She has made presentations internationally including in London, Paris, Copenhagen, Tampere, Bath, Berlin, Madrid, Valencia, Guanacaste, Bled and Rome.
Cynthia is the 2017 recipient of the J. William Fulbright Scholar award sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. As a Fulbright Scholar, while working in Spain, Cynthia researched best practices in international governance, specifically the influence of culture and government regulation on board composition and dynamics. She also speaks Spanish.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College, a master’s degree from Northwestern University and Ph.D. from Boston University.