Leadership Lyceum Podcast: A Conversation with Chris Young, Managing Director and Head of the Contested Situations Group at Credit Suisse
Thomas Linquist is founder of The Leadership Lyceum and Managing Partner of Lyceum Leadership Consulting. He focuses on senior level search assignments including CEO and board of director roles within the power, utility and infrastructure sectors. Tom has twenty-six years of industry and consulting experience, and more than ten years of experience at three of the top five global executive search firms. See the complete body of leadership podcasts, interviews, and articles at www.LeadershipLyceum.com. Tom can be reached at thomas.linquist@LeadershipLyceum.com.
I spoke about shareholder activism with Chris Young, Managing Director and Head of the Contested Situations Group at Credit Suisse. Chris is a lawyer who moved into investment banking in the technology sector. He spent a little over six years at Institutional Shareholder Services. Chris joined Credit Suisse seven years ago and leads the Contested Situations Group.
Tom Linquist: Chris, you refer to activism as "contested situations." Perhaps it's helpful to define terms upfront. Shareholder activism, in some type of planned and directed form, conjures images of corporate raiders from the 80s - the stuff of Predators' Ball and Barbarians at the Gate.
The contemporary form of activism seems less hostile. Or perhaps the euphemism sounds a little less hostile if it's described as "contested situations." What is activism, and how has it evolved over time?
Chris Young: I think the current activists are the next generation of what we used to call "corporate raiders." I think the major difference is that back in the 80s, the raiders would make plays to take over a hundred percent of the target company.