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Benjamin Heineman
Distinguished Senior Fellow


Mr. Heineman is a distinguished senior fellow at the Program on the Legal Profession, senior fellow at the Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance, and senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Heineman is also a member of the guest faculty at Harvard Law School Executive Education. He is a graduate of Harvard College (1965), a former Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University (1967, graduate degree/political science), and holds a law degree from Yale Law School (1971), where he was the editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. After graduation, he clerked for Associate Justice Potter Stewart at the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Heineman practiced law in Washington before serving at HEW from 1977-1980, ending his tenure there as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. He was then managing partner of the Washington office of Sidley & Austin, focusing on Supreme Court and test case litigation. In 1987, Mr. Heineman became Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the General Electric Company located in Fairfield, Connecticut. In 2004, he was named GE's Senior Vice President for Law and Public Affairs.

His book, High Performance with High Integrity, was published in June, 2008 by the Harvard Business Press. He is also the author of books on British race relations and the American presidency. He writes and lectures frequently on business, law and international affairs. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Science, Technology and Law and recipient of the American Lawyer’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award of Board Member magazine. He was named one of America’s 100 most influential lawyers by the National Law Journal, was named one of the 100 most influential individuals on business ethics by Ethisphere magazine and was named on of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance by the National Association of Corporate Directors. He serves on the boards of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (chair of patient care committee), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (chair of program committee), Transparency International-USA (chair of program committee) and the Committee For Economic Development (chair of the corporate governance committee). He is a member of the board of trustees of Central European University. He is currently on an international panel advising the President of the World Bank on governance and anti-corruption. In May, 2011, Mr. Heineman was elected to the American Philosophical Society.


JD, Yale Law School, 1971

Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University, 1967

AB, Harvard College, 1965

Selected Writings

Walmart's Four "Most Worrisome" Governance Issues
May 1, 2012
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Walmart Bribery Case Raises Fundamental Governance Issues
April 28, 2012
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Walmart's Massive Bribery Scandal: What Happens Now?
April 22, 2012
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Too Hot to Handle? How to Evaluate a Partner's Wish to Represent a Controversial Client—Before Taking on the Case
The American Lawyer (July/August, 2011)
With David B. Wilkins
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In China, Corruption and Unrest Threaten Autocratic Rule
The Atlantic (June 29, 2011)
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Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Memorial Day
The Atlantic (May 30, 2011)
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Sex Between Superiors and Subordinates: What are the Rules?
The Atlantic (May 19, 2011)
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A Free Pass for Warren Buffet? Berkshire Audit Committee's Mistake
The Atlantic (April 28, 2011)
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Will Obama Throw a Grenade to Blow-Up Hidden Campaign Donations?
The Atlantic (April 25, 2011)
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Is the French Veil Ban 'Unconstitutional'?
washingtonpost.com (April 13, 2011)
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Sokol Acted Unethically, Warren, Just Say It
Harvard Business Review (April 6, 2011)
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Can Women be a Catalyst for Japan's Renewal?
The Atlantic (April 5, 2011)
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The Inside Story of Ferraro's 1984 Debate Prep
The Atlantic (March 27, 2011)
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Crisis Management Failures in Japan's Reactors and the PB Spill
Harvard Business Review (March 17, 2011)
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Japan: Future Risk, Present Devastation
The Atlantic (March 15, 2011)
With Cristine Russell
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Egypt's Quest for Economic (Not Just Political) Legitimacy
The Atlantic (February 28, 2011)
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The Portrait and the Nazis
The Atlantic (February 14, 2011)
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Fear and the Internet
washingtonpost.com (February 8, 2011)
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The Future of Egypt and the Riddles of History
The Atlantic (February 2, 2011)
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FCIC: The Private Sector Failed
The Atlantic (January 31, 2011)
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Disclosure About Steve Jobs's Illness: Round Two
The Atlantic (January 21, 2011)
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Disclosure About Steve Jobs's Illness: Apple Should Provide It, the SEC Should Require It
The Atlantic (January 17, 2011)
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How the BP Commission Dropped the Ball
Harvard Business Review (January 17, 2011)
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The Very Real Danger Beyond Cyberhackers: Inside Leaks
The Atlantic (January 10, 2011)
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The Supreme Court: 'Originalism's' Theory and the Federalist Papers' Reality
The Atlantic (January 11, 2011)
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Don't Divorce the GC and Compliance Officer: Independence Won't Guarantee Ethical Behavior. Good Culture Will
Corporate Counsel (January 2011)
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