The Rise of Corporate Governance in the U.K.: When and Why

60 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2015 Last revised: 4 Jun 2015

See all articles by Brian R. Cheffins

Brian R. Cheffins

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: April 23, 2015


While issues that prompt corporate governance responses are endemic to the corporate form, the term “corporate governance” only began to feature with any regularity in discussions of public companies in Britain as the 1990s got underway. It is well known that work done by the Committee on the Financial Aspects of Corporate Governance, known as the Cadbury Committee, played a major role in fostering the rise of corporate governance in the U.K. at that point. This paper explains why the topic did not move into the spotlight in Britain in the 1970s, a development that might have been anticipated given that explicit references to “corporate governance” were beginning in earnest then in the United States. The paper also identifies trends that likely would have ensured that corporate governance would have risen to prominence in Britain in the early 1990s in the absence of the Cadbury Committee’s deliberations.

Keywords: corporate governance, boards of directors, takeovers, executive pay

JEL Classification: G34, G38, K22, N24

Suggested Citation

Cheffins, Brian R., The Rise of Corporate Governance in the U.K.: When and Why (April 23, 2015). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 18/2015; ECGI - Law Working Paper No. 293/2015. Available at SSRN: or

Brian R. Cheffins (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom
+44 1223 330084 (Phone)
+44 1223 330055 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

B-1050 Brussels

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