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Borges's fundraising advice

Can an academic group studying corporate governance solicit cash from companies without sacrificing its integrity?

Antonio Borges, chairman of the European Corporate Governance Institute, thinks so. How? "You take corporate money," he says, "but you take it from as wide a range of corporate sponsors as possible."

The 52-year-old investment banker knows a thing or two about raising money. He's credited with raising E122 million ($107 million) for Europe's leading business school, Insead, during the five years he ran it. He left Insead's French campus in September to become executive vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International in London.

Last April Borges agreed to be the chairman of ECGI, a new incarnation of the European Corporate Governance Network, which was established in 1996 but struggled to fund research projects. ECGI members approached Borges last summer for advice on how to solve their fundraising dilemma. He suggested that they set a relatively low annual membership fee of E2,000 and offer it to thousands of firms instead of a handful of big givers. "This way no individual member will be powerful enough to influence ECGI's policy," says Borges.

Born in Ramalde in northern Portugal, Borges studied economics at Stanford and was one of the principal architects of his country's stock market liberalization in the 1990s, when he was vice chairman of Banco de Portugal. He aims to have 100 corporate ECGI members by year-end. So far he's signed up British Petroleum, Centrobanca, Chubb Corp., Goldman Sachs, Nokia, Nordea and Telecom Italia Mobile.

Just how hard-hitting will ECGI be? "We won't do this with the idea of sanctioning companies," Borges says. "Our research will focus on well-governed role models from which people can learn."