The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, founded in May 2003, is the umbrella for all activities on leadership and ethics at Columbia Business School.
The Center was made possible by a generous gift from the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Foundation. The foundation's parent, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., was established in 1967 by the late Sanford Bernstein, a paragon of the highest standards of his profession.
An investment manager, Bernstein opened the first securities firm dedicated to providing families and individuals with professional money-management services. As the mission grew to include investment research and institutional asset management, the firm flourished while emphasizing the highest ethical and professional standards.
This exemplary standard of quality and ethics has endured, and today Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. is part of Alliance Bernstein L.P., one of the most respected firms on Wall Street. Both names symbolize excellence, trustworthiness, discipline, independence and objectivity.
The mission of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics is to be a globally recognized locus for the promotion of ethics in the curriculum of business schools and the development of innovative cases and research on ethics, leadership and governance. The Center engages students, faculty and the outside community through a variety of endowed speaker series and through broad consultation to integrate ethics into the core classes taught to all MBA and EMBA students at Columbia. Through the creation of new teaching material and the funding of research, the Center provides students with frameworks and tools to think critically about ethical conflicts and trade-offs in order that they will be better prepared for their future careers.
The Center's activities, including the Individual, Business, and Society curriculum, focus on three broad themes:
These themes are interrelated. Responsible corporate governance and corporate conduct ultimately rely on the integrity of managers and boards. Creating an organization that promotes and protects individual integrity is a corporate responsibility. Balancing the sometimes competing interests of shareholders and other stakeholders raises questions of corporate governance.