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Tomorrow’s Thought Leadership – Book Launch ‘Firm Commitment’

11th March 2013 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Venue: Gresham College

Dating back to our original Tomorrow’s Company inquiry in 1995, where Charles Handy asked “what is a company for?”, we have continued to be at the cutting edge of thought leadership in shaping the future of business success. The challenge now for business is so much bigger, however business continues to be a tremendous source of innovation and value creation. The question now is how to harness this potential, given the current context, to create enduring success.

Tomorrow’s Company welcomes and supports the discussion on the role and future of business and in the first of a series of Thought Leadership lectures, has the great pleasure of inviting you to the launch of an important new book, Firm Commitment, Why the corporation is failing us and how to restore trust in it byProfessor Colin Mayer from the University of Oxford.     

Colin has worked with Tomorrow’s Company on several of our projects, looking with us at the role of pension fund trustees in creating sustainable financial value within a complex investment system, and also exploring the most appropriate corporate form for both business and society.

We are now delighted to be launching his now book that looks at how the company is one of the most important and remarkable institutions in the world.

The company affects all our lives continuously. But it can also be the cause of immense problems and suffering, a source of poverty and pollution, and its failures are increasing. How is the company failing us? Why is it happening? What should we do to restore trust in it?

Firm Commitment provides a lucid and insightful account of the role of the corporation in modern society and explains why its problems are growing. Based on decades of analysis and research, it describes a new approach to thinking about the firm which not only stops it destroying us but turns it into the means of protecting our environment, addressing social problems, and creating new sources of entrepreneurship and innovation. It sets out an agenda for converting the company into a twenty-first century organization that we value and trust.

“Corporate governance is manifestly in crisis: in this lucid and truly important book Colin Mayer explains why. Not only should you read this book, so should governments.”

Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion

“One lesson of the financial crisis is that the corporation which is a purely financial entity is a financial failure. Colin Mayer makes an important contribution to the rethinking of the nature of modern capitalism.”

John Kay, Chairman, Kay Review of Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision-Making

The book:

  • deals with an issue and an institution that is of fundamental importance to all of us
  • provides a lucid, insightful and entertaining account of how the company works and why it matters
  • sets out a clear description of how it has gone wrong and why
  • offers a precise and practical set of policies for fixing it
  • draws on economics, history, law and philosophy to provide deep insights
  • illustrates its arguments with vivid, informative case studies and examples throughout

Colin Mayer is the Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford. He is an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford and of St. Anne’s College, Oxford, and a Professorial Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford.

Colin was the first professor at the Saïd Business School in 1994 and was the Peter Moores Dean of the Business School between 2006 and 2011. He was a Harkness Fellow at Harvard University, a Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England, the first Leo Goldschmidt Visiting Professor of Corporate Governance at the Solvay Business School, Université de Bruxelles, and has had visiting positions at MIT and Stanford Universities.

Colin was a director of Oxera between 1986 and 2010 and was instrumental in building the firm into what is now one of the largest independent economics consultancies in the UK. He has consulted for numerous large firms and for governments, regulators and international agencies around the world.

We are delighted that joining us on the panel are Richard Ellis, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Alliance Boots, the multinational pharmacy-led health and beauty group, and Michael Mainelli, Chairman of Z/YeN, the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank promoting societal advance through better finance and technology.


11th March 2013
8:00 am - 5:00 pm