An Admiralty for Asia: Isaac Le Maire and Conflicting Conceptions About the Corporate Governance of the VOC

52 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2010

See all articles by Oscar Gelderblom

Oscar Gelderblom

Utrecht University

Abe de Jong

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Joost Jonker

Utrecht University

Date Written: 24 2010 6,

Abstract

The Dutch East India Company or VOC in 1602 showed many characteristics of modern corporations, including limited liability, freely transferable shares, and well-defined managerial functions. However, we challenge the notion of the VOC as the precursor of modern corporations to argue that the company was a hybrid, combining elements from traditional partnerships with a governance structure modeled on existing public-private partnerships. The company’s charter reflected this hybrid structure in the preeminent position given to the Estates General as the VOC’s main principal, to the detriment of shareholders’ interests. Protests by Isaac le Maire and Willem Usselinx about the board’s disregard for shareholders rooted in a conviction that it ought to conform to traditional partnerships with their judicious balance between stakeholders’ interests. However, the perceived public interest of a strong military presence in Asia prevented shareholders’ protests from changing the corporate governance.

Keywords: dutch east india company, VOC, corporate governance

JEL Classification: M

Suggested Citation

Gelderblom, Oscar and de Jong, Abe and Jonker, Joost, An Admiralty for Asia: Isaac Le Maire and Conflicting Conceptions About the Corporate Governance of the VOC (24 2010 6,). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2010-026-F&A. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1633247

Oscar Gelderblom (Contact Author)

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands
+31302536459 (Phone)

Abe De Jong

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-25
Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 1022 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.rsm.nl/people/abe-de-jong/

Joost Jonker

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

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