I grew up in Norway and then studied at the University of Oregon and Purdue University. My first job as a professor was at the College of William & Mary in 1996, and I have been at the University of Iowa since 2004.
I have taught in all areas of finance, but my research has focused on corporate finance, including payout policy, mergers & acquisitions, executive compensation, and corporate distress/risk management. Over time, I have developed a particular fascination with human behavior and incentives.
My research on poison pills and, especially, executive compensation has made impact beyond the world of academia. The latter research began in 2002. Using large databases, I documented strong patterns of manipulation of stock option grants, and I brought these to the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Wall Street Journal in 2005. This culminated in a massive SEC investigation, countless lawsuits, congressional hearings, the firings of at least 70 corporate executives, and a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for the Wall Street Journal. My contribution was also recognized outside the academic world when Time Magazine included me on its list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The research has, in turn, led to opportunities to consult in legal cases ranging from hostile takeovers and security offerings to medical malpractice. And, naturally, many cases on stock option manipulation.
I spend much of my spare time with my family. But I also stay active every day, and my favorite activities are mountain biking, skate cross-country skiing, windsurfing (when back in Norway), and squash.