Sophie L’Helias is an adjunct fellow with the CSIS Europe Program. In the 1990s, she practiced law in New York and Paris (M&A, privatization, and acquisition financing), and she founded Franklin Global Investor Services (FGIS), a corporate governance and proxy solicitation firm in Paris. FGIS represented institutional and private investors in Europe, the United States, and Canada that sought to engage companies on their corporate governance practices and organize effective campaigns for change. In 1998, she became managing director of an event-driven hedge fund in New York. Subsequently, she founded a strategic governance firm, developing tools to assess governance risk, as well as investor and stakeholder engagement initiatives for large publicly traded companies in the United States and Europe.
Ms. L’Helias writes frequently on governance. She is the author of a book comparing corporate governance practices in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, entitled Le Retour de l’Actionnaire [The Shareholder Comeback] (Gualino, 1996). She also wrote a weekly governance column in l’Agefi, a financial daily in France and a series for Corporate Knights, the green business magazine supplement to The Globe & Mail, a Canadian news daily. Ms. L’Helias cofounded the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), where she was a board member and treasurer. Based in London, ICGN has an investor membership that exceeds $10 trillion in assets under management and has become a leading voice on global corporate governance practices. Ms. L’Helias holds an M.B.A. from INSEAD and graduate law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (LL.M.), the University of Saarbrucken in Germany, and the University of Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris (masters of law). She was admitted to practice law in New York and Paris. Ms. L’Helias is a senior fellow at the Samuel Heyman Center on Corporate Governance at the Cardozo School of Law in New York, a senior fellow at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa, and a member of the University of Ottawa’s Board of Governors.
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