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The Critical Importance, and Changing Face, of Corporate Transparency

Harvey L. Pitt | April 27, 2004

With so much current emphasis on popular buzz words, it's easy for companies and investors to lose sight of exactly what's meant when reference is made to "corporate governance." For too many, the concept conjures up questions about the appropriate number of independent directors, the nature of various corporate committees, and the timing of shareholder access to corporate proxy machinery.

But emphasizing these company attributes can obscure the single most critical feature of corporate governance-namely, transparency.

The implosion of so many companies over the past several years-and the legislative, regulatory and prosecutorial solutions to those implosions-all have focused on one over-arching issue: Can a company's reported financial results be believed? Put...

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