FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Francis H. Byrd

Francis H. Byrd

TIAA-CREF
Director, Corporate Governance
New York, NY, USA


Francis Byrd is a member of the TIAA-CREF Corporate Governance Team where he is involved in the development, management and execution of environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies related to TIAA-CREF’s global active ownership activities. Those activities include advising TIAA-CREF’s management and trustees in the development and implementation of proxy voting policies relating to ESG issues; the review of domestic and international regulatory developments and best practices relating to corporate governance. As well as the interpretation of the TIAA-CREF Policy Statement on Corporate Governance in the voting of domestic and international proxies.

He has 20 years of experience in the corporate governance field with a thorough understanding of governance from the perspective of investors, corporate boards and CEOs.

Francis has been twice recognized as a thought-leader in the field of corporategovernance, by NACD Directorship which listed him among the 2014 Directorship 100. In 2010, Directorship listed him as one of thirty “People To Watch” – “a list of movers and shakers who merit serious attention as potential boardroom influentials.” (http://www.directorship.com/directorship-100-2010/14/) A persuasive and articulate communicator, Francis is considered an authoritative voice on governance-related issues having appeared on Fox Business, is frequently quoted by Agenda, Corporate Secretary Magazine, ISS Governance Weekly, NACD Directorship, Investor Relations Magazine, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal (CFO Journal); and, contributes articles to the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Practical Law Journal (magazine/website), Thomson Reuters' Accelus and Business Law Currents (magazine/website), the Directorship blog and in Directors and Boards magazine.

Francis, an expert consultant in the field of shareholder communications, lead the Governance Risk Advisory practices at Laurel Hill Advisory and The Altman Group, Francis provided strategic advice on corporate governance risk and shareholder engagement to boards of directors and senior executive management of corporate issuers.

While with the two proxy solicitation firms, Francis developed and served as chief commentator and editor for two bi-weekly electronic newsletters. The Altman Group's “Governance & Proxy Review” (G&PR) and Laurel Hill’s "BYRD*Watch" (BW). The newsletters had a global audience of corporate executives and professionals in the fields of governance, finance and law. Each focused on issues of interest to the corporate governance community and members of the bar whose practices include corporate governance and M&A.

Prior to serving as a consultant, Francis was Vice President/Corporate Governance Specialist at Moody’s Investors’ Service. During his tenure at Moody’s, Francis authored over 90 published corporate governance assessments and sector commentaries; and evaluated the governance attributes and practices of Fortune 1000 companies, with a focus on the relationship between governance, risk and credit. 

Francis was a member of the Pension Policy Unit of the NYC Comptroller’s Office, where he developed the governance focus list and managed shareowner engagement for the $100 billion New York City retirement systems and pension funds, global leaders in the field of institutional investor activism. 

Francis has established strong working relationships with leaders among institutional investors (mutual, public pension and labor funds) as well as proxy advisory firms, securities lawyers, jurists, corporate directors, academics and commentators in the corporate governance community.

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