York PhD wins best dissertation award

Former York PhD candidate Richard Leblanc (left), now special assistant professor at the Schulich School of Business, has been awarded a national award – the Udayan Rege Best Dissertation Award by the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC). Leblanc’s PhD dissertation, titled Boards of Directors: An Inside View, was judged the best dissertation in Canada by an independent peer-review board.

“This dissertation, the first of its kind, involved the study of 39 boards of directors and attendance at board and committee meetings, in real time, at a sub-set of these boards,” said LeBlanc. “I conducted interviews with almost 200 directors in order to assess best corporate governance practices and what the necessary conditions are for board and individual director effectiveness.”

Leblanc has been invited to present his findings to the Ontario Securities Commission, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board. His work has been looked to by the Ontario Securities Commission in its proposed corporate governance policy, applicable to TSX-listed companies. Internationally, Leblanc has also presented his findings in the United Kingdom and the US, and has been asked by the Australian Institute of Company Directors to present his findings at its annual conference in May.

The Udayan Rege Best Dissertation Award is given biannually for the best Canadian doctoral dissertation in the administrative sciences. The award consists of a plaque and a cash prize of $1,000. The best dissertation award is given in memory of the late Udayan Rege, a professor of finance at Brock University and a former president of ASAC. It is made possible by a donation from Kanchan Rege to honour her late husband’s contributions to ASAC and its members. The award is administered by the ASAC Awards Chair and conferred at the ASAC Annual Conference, every even numbered year beginning with 2002.

“I am tremendously honoured to receive this award, and want to especially thank my thesis supervisor and mentor, Professor James Gillies. Professor Gillies has been a tremendous source of inspiration, not to mention his scholarly rigour and tremendous practical experience and wisdom,” said Leblanc. “I also want to thank the other members of my committee, who also were hugely supportive, and of course the support of Schulich School of Business Dean Dezsö Horváth.”

Leblanc was the recipient of the first Schulich Teaching Award in 1998 from York’s Schulich School of Business, as selected by his students. He teaches in the EMBA and Executive Programs at the Schulich School of Business, and is a lawyer, business consultant and public speaker. Leblanc has been actively involved in providing advisory and consulting assistance to a variety of boards of directors, individual directors, executives and organizations, including government entities, not-for-profit associations and for-profit companies, across a variety of industry sectors.

Leblanc’s forthcoming book, co-authored with James Gillies, titled Building Better Boards: What Directors, Investors, Managers and Regulators Must Know About Boards of Directors, is being published by John Wiley & Sons and is expected to be released later this year.