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Ben Heineman

Mailing address

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 190, Office 101
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Ben Heineman

Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: 617-496-7305
Fax: 617-495-8963
Email: ben_heineman@harvard.edu

 

Experience

Mr. Heineman is a graduate of Harvard College (1965), Oxford University (1967 -- graduate degree/political science) and Yale Law School (1971). A former Rhodes Scholar, editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal and law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, he practiced law in Washington before serving at HEW from 1977-1980, ending his tenure there as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Mr. Heineman was then managing partner of the Washington office of Sidley & Austin, focusing on Supreme Court and test case litigation. He is the author of books on British race relations and the American presidency. In 1987, Mr. Heineman became Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the General Electric Company located in Fairfield, Connecticut. In 2004, he was named GE's Senior Vice President for Law and Public Affairs. Mr. Heineman is a member of the American Law Institute; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a member of the Board of Trustees of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; a member of the Board of Transparency International-USA; a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center; and a member of the Board of Managers and Overseers of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In May 2011, he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.

While at the Belfer Center, he will research and write on a wide variety of public and private sector issues, including the global anti-corruption movement, corporate citizenship and social responsibility,  the changing role of the corporate general counsel and the inside legal department, the corporate response to terrorism, corporate governance, and corporations and public policy.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

Gage Skidmore/CC

October 23, 2016

"Can Business Help Fix Our Broken Politics?"

Op-Ed, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Many business people are appalled at the current state of our politics. Few, however, would admit that the “business community” is responsible, in part, for our dysfunctional political culture. And fewer yet may be prepared to think about how business can take steps—in concert with other political actors—to help soothe the distemper.

 

 

Cliff Owen/AP

October 12, 2016

"Heineman on Wells Fargo: Where Were the Lawyers?"

Op-Ed, Corporate Counsel

By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

A corporate culture failure raises the questions of whether the in-house lawyers knew about the false-account practice.

 

 

Creative Commons

July 25, 2016

"How the CFO and General Counsel Can Partner More Effectively"

Op-Ed, Harvard Business Review

By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Commentators and researchers have focused on the crucial role of the CEO in leading effective corporate action to promotehigh performance, high integrity, and sound risk management. What receives far less attention is that, more and more in our increasingly complex, volatile, and fully-globalized business world, the effectiveness of such action depends on a powerful partnership between the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the General Counsel (GC). This critical alliance needs and deserves much greater analysis and application.

The CFO-GC alliance has always been important because the finance function and the legal function are truly the nervous system of the corporation—sending critical signals to all parts of the company about the accuracy of the financials and compliance with law. But, the integration of finance and legal is even more consequential today because what the corporation can and cannot do across the globe is affected directly not just by financial and commercial issues which the CFO analyzes but, increasingly, by evolving “business and society” issues which the General Counsel and the corporate law department must address. These issues include legislation, regulation, litigation, enforcement, investigations, geopolitical risk, demands for ethical actions, and public criticism, affecting all the functions of the corporation in their interaction with all levels of global governments (central, regional, local). Especially in light of ever-increasing variety and intensity ofstakeholder demands on the corporation, these business and society issues, under the purview of the GC, must be closely fused with the CFO’s financial and commercial analysis to serve the CEO and top business leaders when they make and implement core strategic and operational decisions.

 

 

Pixabay

July 12, 2016

"How Global Corporations Should Confront Pervasive Distrust"

Op-Ed, Fortune

By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Corporations have been attacked from both right and left during the 2016 presidential election: on trade, on immigration, on campaign finance, on crony capitalism, on inequality. Fortune Editor and long-time political reporter Alan Murray says business-government relations in the U.S. are “easily the worst in the three decades I’ve covered them.” But the current across-the-spectrum, anti-corporate distemper and distrust is a global trend as reflected in the Brexit vote which overrode consensus concerns about injury to both UK and non-UK business.

 

 

April 7, 2016

The Inside Counsel Revolution: Resolving the Partner-Guardian Tension

Book

By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The Inside Counsel Revolution: Resolving the Partner-Guardian Tension by Ben W. Heineman, Jr., former General Electric General Counsel and a founding father of the inside counsel movement, describes the past, present and future of this transformation. He takes a critical and careful look at the central role of General Counsel in advancing the core mission of today’s corporation: to achieve high performance with high integrity and sound risk management. He explains how to resolve the critical tension facing inside counsel—being partner to the board of directors, the CEO and business leaders, but ultimately being guardian of the corporation.

 

 

(AP Photo)

Spring 2016

Newsmakers

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Robert D. Blackwill, Non-resident Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Tom Donilon, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Behnam Taebi, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom and Tad Oelstrom

A sampling of Belfer Center fellows and affiliates in the news.

 

 

commons.wikimedia.org

April 1, 2016

"Corporations Need a Better Approach to Public Policy"

Op-Ed, Harvard Business Review

By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

All companies that operate internationally face a striking dual challenge in dealing with public policy: Nations across the globe enact an ever-changing, ever-expanding array of detailed legislation and regulation to protect workers, consumers, investors, and the public welfare, and these diverse rules shape what companies can and cannot do. Moreover, corporations are not trusted in this era of populist discontent because their role in shaping public policy is often seen as bought by money, shaped by elites, and concerned solely with private not public interests

 

 

April 2016

The Inside Counsel Revolution

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Corporate Counsel

By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The practical ideal of the modern general counsel is a lawyer-statesperson who is an outstanding technical expert, a wise counselor and an effective leader, and who has a major role assisting the corporation achieve the fundamental goal of global capitalism: the fusion of high performance with high integrity and sound risk management. For the lawyer-statesperson, the first question is: "Is it legal?" But the ultimate question is: "Is it right?"

 

 

(AP Photo)

Fall/Winter 2015-2016

Newsmakers

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Mark Bell, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, July 2014–June 2016, Amanda J. Rothschild, Research Fellow, International Security Program, Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School, Anita Gohdes, Former Empirical Studies of Gender and Political Violence Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program/Women and Public Policy Program, 2015–2016, Paul Staniland, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program, 2008–2009, Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

A sampling of Belfer Center fellows and affiliates in the news.

 

2014

November 2014

"Lawyers as Professionals and as Citizens: Key Roles and Responsibilities in the 21st Century"

Paper

By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, William F. Lee and David B. Wilkins

We seek to define and give content to four ethical responsibilities that we believe are of signal importance to lawyers in their fundamental roles as expert technicians, wise counselors, and effective leaders: responsibilities to their clients and stakeholders; responsibilities to the legal system; responsibilities to their institutions; and responsibilities to society at large.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.