I’ve received many awards in my time, but this is one of the most personal to me, and special.
The Edward W. “Rusty” Rose Award, presented by the Great Investors’ Best Ideas Foundation (GIBI) in Dallas, is a lifetime award presented to an individual who has done the most to bring truth and transparency to public securities markets. Rusty Rose was a straight-talker and legendary investor. I knew him well, as he was one of the first to visit with me when I first moved to Dallas. This award is meant to carry on his legacy and memory, and his tenacity and passion in this arena. I am greatly honored to be its recipient this year.
The award recalls the shareholder rights initiatives I launched in the 1980s with the United Shareholder Association. Back then, in corporate boardrooms throughout the country, I saw a problem. There was an entrenched belief among management that they owned the huge companies they helped run, even though they are often simply hired to help run the ship with only a few shares of stock. I knew that the true owners of even large companies were the shareholders and investors. Management worked for them.
I advocated for a shareholder-centric view that valued the individual investors as the true owners to which executives were accountable. This threatened the lucrative and selfish model that was then the status quo. I was criticized for it, and there was often a target on my back for having so brazenly challenged an entrenched system.
But today, responsibility to the shareholders is considered the status quo. I’m proud to have had a hand in that shift in thinking, a shift to how things should be. Today, shareholders and investors who feel empowered to make arguments against poor management, for the benefit of the company, are lauded.