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Michael Hershman

Michael Hershman, President and CEO, The Fairfax Group

Michael Hershman

Michael Hershman

Michael Hershman is an internationally recognized expert on matters relating to transparency, accountability and governance. The Fairfax Group, which he founded in 1983, has been retained by governments, corporations, law firms, and international financial institutions to assist on matters related to the conduct of senior-level officials and/or the entities with which they do business. He is particularly well known for providing advice to corporate boards, executives and governments who find themselves in the midst of ethical dilemmas.

Mr. Hershman began his career in intelligence and investigations in Europe during the late 1960s as a special agent with U.S. Military Intelligence, specializing in counter-terrorism. After leaving the military, he moved to investigations of government misconduct and financial fraud for the New York State Attorney General's Office and the Office of the Mayor of New York City. Later, Mr. Hershman served as a senior staff investigator for the Senate Watergate Committee, and as chief investigator for a joint Presidential and Congressional commission, reviewing state and federal laws on wiretapping and electronic surveillance.

Immediately prior to founding the Fairfax Group, Mr. Hershman served as Deputy Auditor General for the Foreign Assistance Program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he led investigations and audits of major U.S. funded projects overseas, and was responsible for worldwide security at all foreign AID missions. Mr. Hershman was awarded the Superior Honor Medal for his service at USAID.

Mr. Hershman has devoted much of his professional career to nonprofit activities. In 1993, Mr. Hershman co-founded Transparency International, the largest independent, not-for-profit coalition promoting transparency and accountability in business and in government. For the past 14 years, he has been a member of the Board of the International Anti- Corruption Conference Committee. In 2012, following a number of high profile scandals, Michael Hershman was appointed to the Independent Governance Committee for the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Mr. Hershman is a member of the Board of rectors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and advises the Chamber on corporate compliance issues. Since 2007, Mr. Hershman has also been a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Center for International Private Enterprise.

Each year from 2008 to 2012 he has been named to the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the top 100 most influential people in business ethics worldwide.


Financial Innovation: A Risky Business?

Watch the trailer for our interactive debate exploring the value of financial markets, the interaction between government and innovation, and what role markets should play in society.

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This event was presented by Fred Friendly Seminars in partnership with the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, and was part of Columbia Business School’s Individual, Business and Society (IBS) curriculum.

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2014 Klion Forum

When: April 15th, 2014 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Where: 3022 Broadway
Calder Lounge, Uris Hall (1st Floor)
New York, NY 10027

Register Now >

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Join Ms. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, and Ms. Ellen Kaden, chief legal and government affairs officer of Campbell Soup, for a fireside chat moderated by Professor Bruce Kogut on board governance and maintaining high ethical principles in a competitive market.

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Featured Video

With rapidly changing consumer tastes, many food companies are looking to expand their markets at home and overseas. How does an iconic American company stay relevant?

Featured Research

The Small Worlds of Corporate Governance
Identifies "structural breaks" — privatization, for example, or globalization — and assesses why powerful actors across countries behave similarly or differently in terms of network properties and corporate governance.


Program Brochure

View the Bernstein Center brochure, Ethical Challenges in Business