New York (April 16, 2003) - The much-discussed topic of restoring public trust took center stage at a forum here, where prominent business leaders, politicians, investors and academics gathered to discuss the current corporate governance landscape.

In his remarks at the one-day conference held April 15, New York Stock Exchange chairman Dick Grasso called on business leaders to embrace corporate governance reform to help rebuild confidence. “First and foremost, we must communicate openly and without spin,” Grasso told the attendees at the event, “Restoring Corporate Integrity and Public Trust.” He added, “Second, and most important, we must send a message to the American public that wrongdoers will be rooted out…If you rob a bank, you go to jail. If you rob shareholders, the same thing should happen.”

During a panel discussion on the changes to the corporate governance system in the wake of massive scandals at Enron, Tyco, WorldCom and others, James H. Quigley, Deloitte & Touche U.S. chief executive-elect, said some provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley are already having an impact. “I think the certification requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley are having an impact on how management thinks and acts,” said Quigley. He also said corporate America needs a “a chance to absorb the changes that have occurred and then evaluate their effectiveness.”

Other speakers at the event included former President Bill Clinton, former White House chief of staffLeon Panetta, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, and class-action attorney Melvyn Weiss, senior partner at Milberg, Weiss, Berhad, Hynes & Lerach.

-- Melissa Klein

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