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15 Chapman Law Review 1 (2011)
Please cite the article as published in the Chapman Law Review


Eight years after passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Congress has again passed sweeping legislation in response to a corporate crisis. In addition to changes in the regulatory environment for Wall Street financial firms and banks, the Dodd-Frank Act (D-F Act) also proposes reforms to corporate governance.

In this article, the author examines the latest governance mandates under the D-F Act. In particular, this article focuses on the disclosure requirements on the CEO and chairman positions, and argues that disclosures of whether the CEO is also the chairman benefit shareholders' governance rights under state law. The new provisions under D-F Act combined the recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure rulemaking on board leadership structure address a fundamental issue of board decision-making and the affects of structural bias and "group think" on director behavior. Bifurcation disclosures for public companies provide shareholders with beneficial information on board leadership structure, but more importantly, the disclosure requirements force directors to engage in discussion and analysis of how board decisions are made, and whether such decisions can be unduly influenced by a dominant CEO. State fiduciary duty requirements do not directly address social and structural decision-making biases. Shareholders benefit when federal disclosure rules address state governance shortcomings that are not otherwise conducive to private ordering.