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Business ethics at Yale: Paul Volcker, James Wolfensohn, Sheila Bair

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  • We recently wrapped up the Yale Business Ethics Conference--something I've been helping plan since last year.

  • I organized a panel entitled "The Ethics of Extractive Industries." Ken Cohen, ExxonMobil's VP of Government and Public Affairs, presented the perspective of the world's most profitable oil company. Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico, explained the connections between oil, power, corruption, and development in Mexico. Peter Rosenblum moderated; he's a professor and activist who focuses on the nexus between natural resources and human rights. Fireworks ensued--respectful, thought-provoking fireworks. I think this was one of those rare panels that actually got the audience to think differently (or at least deeply). Our other esteemed panelists were Joe Bell, who has practiced natural resource law for 40 years and advises Liberia, Mongolia, and other sovereign states on resource governance, and Keith Phillips, a deal-maker who has run the mining coverage groups at Morgan Stanley and three other investment banks.

  • I wish I could share more about the substance (and tensions) on the panel...but Chatham House rules applied.

  • This business ethics conference exemplifies SOM's mission of "training leaders for business and society." We hope to make the Yale Business Ethics Conference an annual event.