Management renewal? Consequences of the new conception of the “best interests of the corporation” in North American and French Corporate Law
Corporate law integrates a stakeholder conception through the comprehensive meaning of the best interests of the corporation. In this paper, I address criticisms about classical definition of the firm’s purpose. Even if American law is more discreet and uncertain, it is possible to defend a broad conception of the best interests of the corporation. The interests of Canadian and French firms include their partners. While the notion of intérêt social is debatable in France, Canada has recently modified its point of view regarding the purpose of the firm. Indeed, the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada Magasins à rayons Peoples Inc. (Syndic de) v. Wise in 2004 changed the concept of corporate law. With respect to fiduciary duties, the Supreme Court set aside the traditional interpretation of the “best interests of the corporation” which gave primacy to shareholders’ interests. The Court held that the expression “best interests of the corporation” refers to the maximization of the corporation’s value. This innovative vision of the best interest of the corporation introduces stakeholder theory and corporate social responsibility (CSR) into corporate law and provides a new field for the firm’s management to frame their responsibilities. This paper concludes with an extended discussion of the implications of stakeholder and CSR influence for the future of corporate law, economy and financial researches.
TCHOTOURIAN Ivan, "Management renewal? Consequences of the new conception of the “best interests of the corporation” in North American and French Corporate Law", prépublication, 2008