“Most people thinking about performance think about managers, products, and research. But it’s also valuable to have a certain kind of shareholder,” says Larry Cunningham.
Larry Cunningham, special counsel at Mayer Brown, has had a truly extraordinary career, rubbing shoulders with billionaires, sitting on the boards of large public companies, and writing 20 books. Larry recently joined Mayer Brown, a top law firm known for its strategic business model and commitment to sustainability and growth. In his role, Larry advises boards of public companies on corporate governance, leveraging his extensive experience and expertise in the field. His focus on long-term and quality shareholders aligns perfectly with Mayer Brown’s philosophy, making it a natural fit. In addition to his work at Mayer Brown, Larry sits on the boards of several prestigious companies, including Constellation, Markel, and Kelly Plus Partners. These companies, known for their exceptional returns and commitment to autonomy, embody the values that Larry has championed throughout his career. His involvement in these boards allows him to contribute his wealth of knowledge and insights, further enhancing their success.
Throughout the episode, Larry’s dedication to finding the right fit and adding value is evident in his approach to board service and his advice to others considering similar roles. Larry’s journey serves as a reminder that with the right mindset and a commitment to excellence, one can achieve great success and make a meaningful impact in their chosen field.
“What I liked about university life was exploring ideas and debating ideas and being able to write basically on any topic that I wanted. And all three of those schools, BC, GW & Cardozo, supported that. It was very important to me.” (20:59 | Larry Cunningham)
“We said, let’s try to relate shareholder quality to, I think we ended up looking at 25 different important features of corporate life. Stock price volatility, we looked at brand strength, we looked at market share, we looked at stability of earnings, a variety of other things. We looked at very specific things like and from sort of the shareholder side, like board composition, attendance at shareholder meetings, quality of the shareholder letters that the CEO writes. And again, all that stuff is we ended up putting it all in pretty much one book called Quality Shareholders. And it’s fascinating stuff. And it’s more appreciated now than it used to be. But it’s still a kind of a niche area.” (29:33 | Larry Cunningham)
“I feel like I add value. I feel like I’m contributing something positive.” (40:35 | Larry Cunningham)