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Keith Gottfried, Founder and CEO

Keith Gottfried, a highly experienced shareholder activism advisor, is the founder and CEO of Gottfried Shareholder Advisory LLC.  Previously, Keith led the shareholder activism defense practice at a large global law firm. 

Over the course of a career that spans nearly 30 years, working at some of the country's most prominent firms, Keith has served as an advisor in connection with numerous high-profile proxy contests, special meeting demands, consent solicitations, and unsolicited acquisition proposals.  

​Keith brings to clients broad industry experience having advised on shareholder activism matters in the apparel, automobile parts, banking, casual dining, closed-end mutual funds, consumer products, defense, energy, financial services, healthcare, information technology, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, medical equipment, motion picture, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, REITS, retail, semiconductor, shipping, software, telecommunications, and waste management industries.

Keith's work as an advisor on shareholder activism and other matters has been recognized on numerous occasions.  In both 2018 and 2019, Keith was named by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) to its list of Directorship 100 honorees, which recognizes the most influential people in the boardroom community, including directors, corporate governance experts, regulators, and advisors.

​Keith publishes and presents regularly, and has been frequently quoted by the national business media, on shareholder activism trends and developments.  Keith is also a frequent contributor to the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, the leading online resource for discourse on corporate governance, on topics relating to shareholder activism.

Among the articles that Keith has authored or co-authored are the following:

  • Author, Shareholder Activism at SEC Registered Closed-End Investment Funds in the Wake of COVID-19, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, January 3, 2021

  • Author, Preparing for Shareholder Activism in the Wake of COVID-19, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, November 30, 2020

  • Author, The Impact of COVID-19 on Shareholder Activism in the Retail Industry, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, October 28, 2020

  • Co-Author, The Impact of COVID-19 on Shareholder Activism, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, April 12, 2020

  • Co-Author, The Misplaced Focus of the ISS Policy on NOL Poison Pills, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, August 16, 2018

Because activism campaigns may often resemble political campaigns, Keith also brings to clients the political insight he gained as a US Senate–confirmed White House appointee in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Prior to joining the George W. Bush Administration, Keith served in senior executive roles at Borland Software Corporation, then a publicly traded company in California’s Silicon Valley, initially joining Borland as its general counsel and then later serving as its head of its worldwide corporate affairs function where regularly interfaced with the governments of many of the countries where Borland had operations.  While an executive at Borland, Keith served on the board of directors of the Business Software Alliance, the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace.

Keith holds an M.B.A., with high honors, from Boston University's Questrom School of Business, a J.D., cum laude, from Boston University's School of Law, where he was an Edward F. Hennessey Distinguished Scholar of Law and a G. Joseph Tauro Scholar of Law, and a B.S. in Economics, concentrated in accounting, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.