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#60 Michael O’Leary: Empowering investors to keep companies Accountable

#60 Michael O’Leary: Empowering investors to keep companies Accountable

Michael O’Leary was part of the team that founded BainCapital’s DoubleImpact fund, he’s been flying the flag for the evolution of finance for many years, and he’s published a book it’s called Accountable: The rise of Citizen Capitalism.

He’s worked in private markets and knows impact investment back to front, but he also knows ESG, corporate governance, the challenges facing huge passive funds, and ongoing debate between divestment and engagement.

On this episode…

We dug into Michael’s book which manages the difficult task of talking about the new world of capitalism without being preachy. He brings together the nature and stories of the world’s biggest companies, and ties them to many ways both investors and consumers are becoming increasingly empowered to influence and drive change at these companies.

We talk about how a famous Private Equity fund gave birth to an impact fund, the problems with ESG investing, the pros and cons of the ‘Divest Harvard’ protest movement, and how institutional investors are holding companies like Rio Tinto accountable for their actions. 

My key takeaway this week…

“Long term I’m optimistic, medium term I’m bracing myself for a splash of cold water as the sceptics begin to rear their heads.

Long term I think this movement is only going in one direction.”

Good Future’s Good Books

The Shareholder Value Myth

By Lynn Stout

One of my biggest influences in writing this book, and exploring what corporations are capable of, is a legal scholar who sadly died while she was still in the prime of her career.

Lynn Stout, from the US, she wrote a book called the Shareholder Value Myth, and I think it does as good-a job as any in painting what has gone wrong with corporations, that they’ve gone from what originally had a very deep social purpose, to ultimately serving only quarterly profits, but also painting a path forward to business that are accountable and do have a deeper purpose.

Links

Accountable – The rise of citizen capitalism

Bain DoubleImpact

Divest Harvard

CalSTRS, Jana and Apple

Rio Tinto

Impact-Weighted Accounts

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