PR vets unite to fill rising need for corporate governance measurement

NEW YORK: Two veteran communications pros have teamed up to form GovernanceMetrics International (GMI), a firm that offers institutional investors a way to benchmark companies based on the strength of their corporate governance.

NEW YORK: Two veteran communications pros have teamed up to form GovernanceMetrics International (GMI), a firm that offers institutional investors a way to benchmark companies based on the strength of their corporate governance.

The founders include Gavin Anderson, the president of the PR firm that bears his name, and IR veteran Gary Kraut, president of GA Kraut & Company.

The venture's other two founders are Jon Lukomnic, the former deputy comptroller of New York City, and Stephen Davis, a consultant and noted expert in corporate governance issues.

GMI has assembled a full-time staff of about 30, according to Anderson, and is set to release its first set of ratings on the entire S&P 500 in November. The ratings, which will be on an ascending numerical scale from 1 to 10, will be released on a semi-annual basis thereafter.

In recent months, corporate governance has emerged as a critical measure of reputation as many pundits have attributed poor corporate oversight as a primary factor in some recent financial scandals at companies like WorldCom, Enron, and Adelphia Communications.

The ratings target institutional investors, many of whom have sought a way to benchmark corporate governance standards at the companies they invest in.

"We have seen interest from a variety of institutional investors," said Anderson of the venture. "This group has included some of the larger mutual-fund companies, and some smaller investors as well."

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