Director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance
Justin P. Klein
Justin Klein currently serves as the Director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, having joined the Center as its Director in 2021. He served as a member of the Weinberg Center’s Advisory Board since 2015.
Prior to joining the Center, Justin Klein was a partner at Ballard Spahr LLP from 1992 through 2019 and most recently has served as senior counsel at the firm. He has represented public and private companies and their boards and board committees in a variety of transactions, including securities offerings and mergers and acquisitions. He also has advised firms in the securities industry, including broker-dealers and investment banks, and has assisted clients in day-to-day corporate governance, disclosure and other transactional matters. Before entering private practice, Klein served for nine years at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, holding positions including assistant director of the Division of Corporation Finance.
Mr. Klein has been recognized by Chambers USA, receiving its highest ranking in corporate/M&A and securities law (2003-2021) and was named one of the Best Lawyers in America in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions law and securities capital markets law (2006-2021) and Lawyer of the Year in Mergers and Acquisitions Law (Philadelphia/2020).
Mr. Klein is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He is a past Chair of the Business Law Section, Executive Committee, and past Chair of the Committee on Securities Regulation. He served on the Attorney Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission. Mr. Klein has been a frequent speaker at securities law conferences. He writes extensively on a wide variety of securities law issues, including corporate governance, executive compensation and securities regulation.
At Ballard Spahr, Mr. Klein was a member of the Elected Board and a member of the firm’s Diversity Council. He is active in community service, having served as board chair and a board member of The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, president of the board of Settlement Music School and board chair at Pomfret School.
Mr. Klein earned his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and J.D. from George Washington University Law School.
Louisa Cresson is the Assistant Director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance. In her capacity, Ms. Cresson works closely with the Director on the substantive aspects of the Center’s programs and videos, including determining the event topic, agenda, roundtable participants, marketing the program and researching relevant materials for program attendees. Ms. Cresson also serves as the secretary to the Center’s Advisory Board. This includes determining dates for meetings, preparing and sending out materials in advance of the meetings, and board follow-up post-meeting. Ms. Cresson is the Center’s donation coordinator. She conducts research and helps prepare presentations for speaking engagements. She also serves as the webmaster for the Center’s website. In connection with the Center’s role as the partner of and home for the Inventor Stewardship Group (ISG), Ms. Cresson administers the ISG new members process and current membership, works with ISG’s three governing committees, and is the webmaster for the ISG website. Prior to becoming the Assistant Director, she served as the Research and Marketing Advisor.
Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Cresson worked at Sunoco, Inc. before retiring after approximately 30 years. During that time, she held a variety of legal positions, including as an environmental lawyer supporting refinery and marketing environmental staff, and most recently as a corporate and securities lawyer working on a team that supported the Sunoco Board and Board committees, performing governance, executive compensation, and compliance work. This included preparing materials for Board and Committee meetings, and follow-up activities. She provided counseling in the executive compensation area for the senior executive team. She worked in the securities law area, primarily on Sunoco’s 1934 Act filings. The team that she worked on at Sunoco was nominated as one of the “top five governance teams” in the country by Corporate Secretary Magazine.
Ms. Cresson received her B.A. degree from Denison University and her J.D. degree cum laude from Widener University School of Law (now Delaware Law School).
Nicole R. Rich
Nicole Rich is the Administrative Specialist for the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance. Ms. Rich supports both the Director and the Assistant Director. In this capacity, she provides administrative, financial and event planning support. Nicole began her career at JP Morgan Chase & Co. She also worked at Caravel Academy, a private College preparatory school. Nicole has worked at the University of Delaware for three years. Prior to joining the Center, Nicole worked in other areas at the University of Delaware.
Nicole is a graduate of the University of Delaware and holds a B.A. degree in History.
Retired Edgar S. Woolard, Jr. Chair
in Corporate Governance and the Founding Director
Charles M. Elson
Charles M. Elson is the retired Edgar S. Woolard, Jr. Chair in Corporate Governance and the Founding Director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He is also “Consultant” to the law ﬁrm of Holland & Knight and Executive Editor-At-Large for DIRECTORS & BOARDS.
He formerly served as a Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida from 1990 until 2001. His ﬁelds of expertise include corporations, securities regulation and corporate governance. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Virginia Law School, and has served as a law clerk to Judges J. Harvie Wilkinson III and Elbert Tuttle of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, the Cornell Law School, and the University of Maryland School of Law, and was a Salvatori Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. and is a member of the American Law Institute. In 2019 he was a Herbert Smith Freehills Fellow at Cambridge University.
Professor Elson has written extensively on the subject of boards of directors. He is a frequent contributor on corporate governance issues to various scholarly and popular publications. He served on the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Commissions on Director Compensation, Director Professionalism, CEO Succession, Audit Committees, Strategic Planning, Director Evaluation, Risk Governance, Eﬀective Lead Director, Board Diversity, Talent Development, and Strategy Development and was a member of its Best Practices Council on Coping With Fraud and Other Illegal Activity. He served as well on that organization’s Advisory Council. He was also a member of the Standing Advisory Group of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
Additionally, Professor Elson served as an advisor and consultant to Towers Perrin, the international human resource management consultants, as a director of Circon Corporation, a medical products maker, Sunbeam Corporation, the consumer products manufacturer, Nuevo Energy Company, an independent oil and natural gas producer, the Investor Responsibility Research Center, a non-proﬁt corporate governance research organization, Alderwoods Group, an international death care services provider, AutoZone, Inc. the national automobile parts retailer, Bob Evans Farms, Inc., a restaurant and food products company, and Encompass Health Corporation, a healthcare services provider.
He is presently a member of the Board of Directors of Enhabit Health Corporation, a healthcare services provider, and Blue Bell Creameries Inc., a food products manufacturer. He has served as a trustee of the Big Apple Circus, Talledega College, the Tampa Museum of Art, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, the Delaware Museum of Natural History, the Delaware Art Museum and the Museum of American Finance. He is presently a trustee of the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art and the Hagley Museum and Library. He has been included in the list of “100 most inﬂuential players in corporate governance” of DIRECTORSHIP, the “100 most influential people in ﬁnance” of TREASURY & RISK MANAGEMENT, the list of 10 governance “stars” of GLOBAL PROXY WATCH, and ETHISPHERE’S 100 Most Inﬂuential People in Business Ethics.