Trustee Tom Cole, JD '75: Navigating the New Era in Corporate Governance

University of Chicago Law School Alumni Relations

Chicago Booth Alumni Relations

February 25, 2020: 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Join us for a fireside chat with University of Chicago Trustee Tom Cole, JD '75, and Steve Koch, JD'82, MBA '82, former Deputy Mayor of Chicago.


Gleacher Center
6th Floor
450 Cityfront Plaza Dr.
Chicago, Illinois

Event Details

Drawing on four decades of experience advising boards and CEOs, Tom Cole, JD'75, offers a guide to navigating corporate governance today in his new book, CEO Leadership. Cole explores the recurring question of for whose benefit a corporation should be governed, along with related matters of corporate social responsibility, and explains the role of laws, market forces, and politics and their influence on the governance of public companies. Steve Koch, JD'82, MBA'82, will join in this fireside chat as the two alumni discuss the fragile balance between shareholders, board members, and CEOs.

CEO Leadership: Navigating the New Era in Corporate Governance (published November 2019) will be available for purchase at the event. The book is also available for purchase online here. Use promo code UCPNEW to receive 20% off.


$25 for Booth and Law Alumni & Guests, General Public

$20 for Booth & Law Alumni (Classes of 2014-2019)

Free for Current Booth & Law Students

Includes drinks and appetizers.


Register Online

Deadline: 2/24/2020


6:00 PM-6:30 PM: Registration & Networking

6:30 PM-7:30 PM: Fireside Chat

7:30 PM-8:30 PM: Networking & Book Signing

Speaker Profiles

Tom Cole, JD'75 (Speaker)
Senior Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP, Trustee, University of Chicago

Tom Cole is senior counsel and chair emeritus of Sidley's Executive Committee. He resides in the firm's Chicago office. He became senior counsel effective on January 1, 2017 upon his retirement as a partner and as a full-time practicing lawyer. He had been a partner in the firm since 1981. During his time as a partner at Sidley, Tom was also vice president-law of Northwest Industries, Inc. from 1982 through 1985.

For 15 years ended in April 2013, Tom served as chair of the firm's Executive Committee, the committee that exercises general authority over the affairs of the firm. In April 2014, he stepped down as a member of the Executive Committee (on which he had served since 1987) and as a member of the firm's Management Committee (on which he had served since 1988).

Tom focuses his practice on public company mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. He is consistently recognized by Chambers USA and Chambers Global, including in their most recent editions. In 2001, Tom was recognized by Chambers Global as one of the 26 U.S. lawyers included in its list of the "Global 100 Lawyers"—"lawyers who stand out from their colleagues and are recognized internationally." He was designated an M&A "Dealmaker of the Year" for 2007 by The American Lawyer. He was selected for BTI Consulting's "Client Service All-Star" team in 2008, 2011 and 2014. In 2010 and 2013, Tom was named to "The Directorship 100," the NACD's list of "the most influential people in the boardroom community." In 2015, he was named a "M&A and Antitrust Trailblazer" by The National Law Journal.

Corporate governance assignments have included advising public company boards and their standing and special committees on a variety of subjects, including internal investigations, CEO succession, shareholder activism and proxy contests. Activism defense assignments have included United Continental Holdings (against PAR and Altimeter), PulteGroup (against the founder and Elliott Management), Commercial Metals (against Icahn), Navigant Consulting (against Engine Capital) and International Game Technology (against Ader Investment Management). He represented Elaine Wynn in her withhold vote campaign against a Wynn Resorts incumbent director.

For the five years ended 1998 and beginning again in 2013, Tom has taught the seminar on corporate governance at The University of Chicago Law School. He taught the same seminar at Harvard Law School during the Spring Semester of 2015. His book, "CEO Leadership: Navigating The New Era in Corporate Governance" will be released by The University of Chicago Press in November 2019.

He has been involved in dozens of public company mergers and spinoffs, including the many that were each valued at more than $1 billion.

Steve Koch, JD'82, MBA'82 (Speaker)
Managing Partner, Bowline Group

Steven Koch most recently served as the Co-Executive Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer of Motivate, a leading bike share company in North America. He served as the Deputy Mayor of Chicago from September, 2012 to August, 2017. His responsibilities included economic development, planning, job creation and development, budget issues, municipal finance, and revenue.

Prior to that, Koch spent 27 years at Credit Suisse. During his tenure at CS, he both ran and was the co-chairman of the global mergers and acquisitions business. Under his leadership, the M&A business had over 400 professionals and peak yearly revenues of $2.5 billion. Koch advised on landmark transactions in a wide variety of industries, which together comprised more than $1 trillion of transactions.

Koch has a long history of civic engagement. He currently serves as the Chair of the Boards of the Chicago Tech Collaborative and the Chicago River Task Force and sits on the boards of the Chicago Community Trust, mHUB, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Navy Pier Inc., The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Naturally Chicago, The James Beard Foundation and the visiting committee of the University of Chicago Law School. He helped develop and teaches in the Directors' Consortium, a training seminar for directors of public companies, sponsored by the University of Chicago and Stanford University. He is a life trustee of the Francis Parker School. He previously served as the Chair of the Board of both the Sinai Health System of Chicago and the Greater Chicago Food Depository and as Co-Chair of the Green Ribbon Commission on Sustainability and Climate Change of the City of Chicago. Koch is also a member of SLoFIG and the Hyde Park Angels.

Koch received his BA from Hampshire College, his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and his JD, cum laude, from the University of Chicago Law School. He was a Henry Luce Fellow and served as a law clerk for Judge Richard Cudahy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Koch has three grown children.


Denise Dilley