Richard A. “Rick” Bennett sees a close connection between corporate governance activism and political activism. And he has a good vantage point to make such an observation.
Mr. Bennett stepped down as chairman of GMI Ratings to become vice chairman partly because of a new political activity. Mr. Bennett was elected chairman of the Maine Republican Party in July.
“There are a lot of connecting threads” between corporate governance and politics, Mr. Bennett said, “Building coalitions, framing the message, flying around explaining issues with shareholders, working with the media, trying to get the votes.”
“Institutions have to be much more accountable to the people they serve,” he said. “I think this is true whether it's a corporation serving shareholders or institutional investors serving beneficiaries or a political party serving its members or government serving the citizens.”
GMI Ratings provides research and analytics on environmental, social, governance and accounting risks for investment management.
Mr. Bennett served in both the Maine House and the Maine Senate and was Senate president in 2001-2002. He left the Senate in 2004. He finished third in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in 2012.
Mr. Bennett isn't ruling out running for elective office again. “I feel politics is a very fascinating place in much (the same way) as in corporate governance shareholders feel empowered and use new tools to communicate and flex their strength ... to work for more effective policies.”