HOLLY J. GREGORY, co-chair of Sidley’s global Corporate Governance practice, and co-leader of the ESG team and Crisis Management team, counsels publicly held, private and not-for-profit corporations on the full range of governance issues, including governance structure and culture, fiduciary duties, risk oversight, conflicts of interest, board and committee structure, board leadership, special committee investigations, CEO transitions, board self-evaluation processes, shareholder activism and initiatives, proxy contests, relationships with shareholders and proxy advisory firms, compliance with legislative, regulatory and listing rule requirements and governance “best practices.” She is frequently called on to advise boards regarding sensitive and unusual matters. While most of the matters she works on are highly confidential, high-profile matters that are in the public record include advising on governance and accountability mechanisms of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to replace U.S. government oversight, and advising the Board of The Pennsylvania State University on governance reforms.
Holly played a key role in drafting the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance and has advised the Internal Market Directorate of the European Commission on corporate governance regulation, and the joint OECD/World Bank Global Corporate Governance Forum on governance policy for developing and emerging markets. She also drafted the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Key Agreed Principles of Corporate Governance.
In addition to her legal practice and policy efforts, Holly has lectured extensively on governance topics, including at events in Europe and Asia sponsored by the U.S. State Department, International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), The Conference Board, the NACD, Association of Corporate Counsel, Society for Corporate Governance and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). The author of numerous articles on governance topics, she writes the governance column for Practical Law: The Journal.
Holly founding trustee and president of The American College of Governance Counsel and is a member of The American Law Institute. She served as chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Corporate Governance Committee and currently serves on the ABA Business Law Section Council. She is also a former co-chair of the ABA’s Delaware Law and Business Forum, and a former appointed member of the Corporate Laws Committee where she served as co-editor of the Corporate Director’s Guidebook (Sixth Edition). She chaired the ABA task force that delivered the Report on the Delineation of Governance Roles & Responsibilities to Congress and the SEC in 2009. She has served as an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and as a member of multiple NACD Blue Ribbon Commissions.
Holly clerked for the Honorable Roger J. Miner, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A summa cum laude graduate of New York Law School and Executive Editor of its Law Review, Holly served on the Board of Trustees of New York Law School from 2009 through 2011.
Holly is widely recognized for her work, including as: one of the NACD Directorship 100: Governance Professionals, Directorship Magazine, 2021 and all prior years (fifteen years total); one of “the best and brightest minds in the legal profession” in Ethisphere’s 2017 and 2015 Attorneys Who Matter; the “Best in Corporate Governance” at Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Americas Women in Business Law Awards 2016 and at the inaugural 2012 Awards; the leading practitioner in corporate governance law in the Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law (July 2010); a “Leading Practitioner in Corporate Governance” in the International Who’s Who Legal: M&A and Governance, 2022 and prior years; and a “leading lawyer” in Corporate Governance in The Legal 500 US 2020 and prior years; and a “Thought Leader” in the Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – M&A and Governance 2019. She was named in 2018 to The National Law Journal’s list of “White Collar, Regulatory & Compliance Trailblazers.” Among other things, Holly was recognized for leading the team that counseled the global internet community on a new governance and accountability structure for ICANN for the period to follow U.S. government oversight. Holly received Corporate Secretary’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.