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The Rights and Duties of Stakeholders Must Be Reconsidered

A ntoine FRÉROT * Président-directeur général, Veolia.

A firm is defined as a collective entity, coordinating various stakeholders (shareholders, workers, clients and suppliers). A corporate executive has different responsibilities. He should balance the interests of the various stakeholders, and also build a strategy over the long term. As a consequence, corporate governance should promote certain principles, preserving the rights and duties of the stakeholders. Favoring long term investors, through multiple voting rights for patient, stable shareholders, is one of these principles. Also, board-level representation of the firm various constituencies, including workers, is a serious option. In Veolia, the board of directors includes two worker representatives since 2013; the experience is positive, as they bring their own firm-specific expertise into decision-making. Regarding CEO remuneration, a design that would prioritize a single constituency should be avoided. Finally, there is a need to adapt the articles 1832 and 1833 of the French Civil code that give a legal definition of the corporation. The objective should be to go beyond a narrow definition of corporate responsibility.

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Blanche Segrestin, Armand Hatchuel et Kevin Levillain, PSL Research University, 2012.

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