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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee will host a conference on trends and issues in corporate governance Nov. 20 at the UT Conference Center.

The conference is co-sponsored by the UT College of Business Corporate Governance Center (CGC) and Professional MBA Program (ProMBA).

The one-day conference is open to both current students and ProMBA alumni.

“In today’s business environment, it is essential to understand the issues surrounding corporate governance and comprehend the context of this new era of market transparency,” Dr. C. Warren Neel, CGC executive director, said.

The world’s corporate culture is rapidly changing toward transparency, he said. Publicly traded companies are being scrutinized and disciplined for misconduct, and intelligent corporate governance has become the established way of doing business.

“With the creation of the Corporate Governance Center, UT has become a research leader in influencing public policy and putting corporate governance trends into an understandable perspective,” Neel said.

During the conference, seven of the nation’s most well-known corporate governance experts will discuss significant trends and issues such as the role of institutional investors in corporate governance, the evolving role of audit committee members, the role of the CEO and CFO post-Sarbanes-Oxley, and transitioning from an entrepreneurial culture to a publicly traded one.

Panelists include:

– Dr. Joseph V. Carcello, Stokely Distinguished Scholar in the Department of Accounting and Information Management and director of research for UT’s Corporate Governance Center. Carcello has published more than 40 articles on audit committees and fraudulent financial reporting and has consulted for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

– Dan W. Evins, chairman of CBRL Group Inc., a holding company for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. and Logan-s Roadhouse. Evins co-founded Cracker Barrel in 1969, serving as its president, board chair, and CEO. He also served on the board of Clayton Homes, Inc. until its 2003 sale to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

– Jamie Heard, vice chairman of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). For more than 20 years, Heard has advised many of the nation’s leading institutional investors on corporate governance issues. Before becoming ISS vice chairman, he served as the company’s president and CEO and was instrumental in its merger with The Proxy Monitor. Heard also served as deputy executive director of the Investor Responsibility Research Center.

– Wilma Jordan, founder and CEO of New York-based media investment bank, The Jordan, Edmiston Group Inc., and founding general partner and CEO of JEGI Capital, a venture capital e-commerce affiliate of Jordan, Edmiston. Jordan has founded, owned, managed, advised and served on the boards of directors of several high-profile media and communications companies. She currently sits on the boards of a NYSE-listed company and a NASDAQ-listed company.

– John Kalec, chief financial officer of Clayton Homes Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Kalec previously served on Clayton’s board as a member of its audit committee. Before joining Clayton, Kalec was chief financial officer for Internet Pictures Corp. (IPIX).

– Dr. C. Warren Neel, executive director of the University of Tennessee Corporate Governance Center. Neel previously served as commissioner of finance and administration for the State of Tennessee. He has served on the boards of nine public companies, currently sitting on the board of a NYSE-listed company and a NASDAQ-listed company.

– John E. Stokely, president since 1999 of JES Inc., an investment and consulting firm providing corporate strategic and financial advice. Previously, Stokely was president, CEO and board chair for Richfood Holdings Inc., a publicly traded Fortune 500 food retailer and wholesale grocery distributor, until its merger with Supervalu Inc. He currently serves on two NASDAQ-company boards.