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Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics and Board Effectiveness
Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics and Board Effectiveness

CCBE History

Founded in 1988 by Professor Emeritus Max Clarkson, a pioneer in business ethics and stakeholder theory, CCBE grew from the belief that as the relationship between business and society increases in complexity, the need for organizations to manage social and ethical issues becomes critical. During the 1980s and 1990s, CCBE was instrumental in the development of codes of ethics and codes of conduct for many of Canada's largest corporations.

It is important today to ensure that what these codes espoused remains integral to corporate operations. CCBE associates continue to teach business ethics to the management of the future: our MBA, MMPA, Executive MBA, and Global MBA program participants. We also develop and deliver specially tailored courses, such as Applied Ethics for Financial Professionals.

In terms of our research, because corporate life cycles and CEO tenures are shorter than ever before, Boards of Directors have the greatest perspective, mandate, interest, and potential to positively influence shareholder returns and encourage socially responsible corporate policy. In the words of Conway Director David R. Beatty, "It is with Boards of Directors that the new leverage lies." Consequently, board effectiveness is the focus of CCBE’s research today.

Founder: Max B.E. Clarkson (1922-1998)

Professor Emeritus of Management; Dean, School of Management (1975-1980)

Max Clarkson first aimed to be a writer and teacher of English literature, earning a master's degree in English from the University of Toronto. But his father George Elliott Clarkson asked Max to come to Buffalo and join his printing company, Technical Charts Inc. and under the combined management of George, Max, and his younger brother William, the company prospered. In 1957 Graphic Controls Corporation was formed and became a publicly-held corporation in 1965. The experience Mr. Clarkson gained from 24 years as an executive became the basis of teaching and research he conducted as Dean and then Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Management (now the Rotman School of Management) at the University of Toronto.

The year after his retirement from the faculty in 1988, Mr. Clarkson founded the Centre for Corporate Social Performance and Ethics in the Faculty of Management (now the CCBE). His ground-breaking research and publications in the field of business ethics won him wide acclaim and invitations to many international conferences. In 1997 the University of Toronto Press published the volume, The Corporation and Its Stakeholders: Classic and Contemporary Readings, edited by Professor Clarkson.

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