John Montgomery

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John Montgomery gradually realized that the traditional corporation’s lack of a comprehensive conscience is detrimental to stockholders, society, and the environment. The prevailing doctrine of shareholder primacy normalizes the practice of externalizing as many costs as possible on the commons in order to maximize stockholder welfare. This practice ultimately impedes corporate performance because the backlash aroused by the ensuing harm to society and the environment destroys goodwill. In addition, because modern shareholders own the market, not individual stocks, the practice of externalizing costs harms the overall market thereby diminishing market returns.

John began working with socially and environmentally oriented entrepreneurs to design governance provisions to instill the corporation with a conscience that transcends and includes the usual pecuniary one. He was the co-chair of the legal working group behind California’s 2ww legislation, which became law in 2012, and was a California Bar Association magazine lawyer of the year and B Lab MVP and Champion awards winner for this work.

He has since become a leading authority on the benefit corporation. He is the President and co-founding director of the Benefit Company Bar Association, a Co-Founding Director and Secretary of the Conscious Leadership Guild, a partner with NOW Partners and serves on the advisory boards of B Lab Europe and several benefit corporations.  John’s work as an international advocate for the benefit corporation and the emergent impact economy inspired him to incorporate Lex Ultima as two affiliated benefit entities in 2017.

Prior to founding Lex Ultima, John founded a successful Silicon Valley law firm, now Montgomery & Hansen, LLP, in 2003 and was previously a partner or attorney at prominent Bay Area law firms. John has practiced corporate law in California since 1984. His experience includes extensive counseling to public and private companies and venture capital firms in connection with financings, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and a variety of other general corporate matters.

In the course of representing approximately 1,000 startups and two dozen public companies over his 33 year career, John noticed a direct correlation between the courageousness and trustworthiness of a leader and the magnitude of success of her or his business. In short, leaders who lead from the heart have an evolutionary advantage, which he explored in his book Great from the Start: How Conscious Corporations Attract Success. John became an executive coach to help executives optimize their leadership potential and is an adjunct executive coach with the Center for Creative Leadership.

John was a co-founder of Chrysallis in 2010, a behavior change company, which was acquired by Aduro in 2016, and Startworks Ventures, a benefit capital firm. He previously served as a member of the Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the California State Bar and was a Governance Fellow with the National Association of Corporate Directors.

In 2019, John co-founded A Better Party Films, the managing member of Awakening a Force for Good, LLC, a film production company that is producing a full-feature documentary film about the global movement of business as a force for good.

John holds a B.A. in Studio Art from Stanford University and a J.D. from Northwestern College of Law, Lewis & Clark College. He still paints.

Participation on Humanity Rising

Day046 Beyond Neo Libralism: The Dawn Of A New Civilisation
Day 155 - Tuesday December 8, 2020 Reshaping Capitalism: The Future of the Corporation
Day 100 - The Rise of the Green Swans
Day 582 Tue 11/15/22 COP VII: The Great Transformation
Day 653 Wed 3/15/23 Tired of all the “Blah, blah, blah” about climate change? Understanding the global conversation about decarbonizing the economy.

See Also

John’s Profile


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  • startworks