In Memory of William T. Allen
XBMA mourns the passing of our founding director, colleague and friend William T. Allen. Bill was integral to the creation of XBMA. His vision and interest in fostering dialogue among principals, advisors and scholars in corporate law, M&A and investments, his leadership at NYU, and his deep personal and professional relationships with both the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University and the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge led not only to XBMA’s creation but to its immediate and continuing success.
Bill Allen had a distinguished career as a judge, legal scholar and attorney. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School in 1972, he practiced with the Wilmington, Delaware law firm of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell. He was appointed Chancellor of Delaware Court of Chancery, the nation’s leading trial court specializing in corporation law, in 1985, and served in that position for 12 years. During that time, he wrote many influential judicial decisions, including opinions which set new standards for director responsibility for oversight of corporate conduct, and which shaped the law governing the conduct of mergers, hostile takeovers and proxy contests. He will be remembered as one of the most creative and intellectually commanding jurists in the field of corporate law, writing decisions that adapted Delaware law to the changing landscape of the American corporate world. He was notably innovative in applying the insights and analytical framework of economic theory to business law. After he left the bench in 1997, he continued to bridge the legal, economics and business worlds while teaching at NYU Law School for 21 years, where he was the Nusbaum Professor of Corporate Law; founder of the NYU Center for Law and Business; and Director of the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business. His scholarship was reflected in his co-authorship of a leading treatise on corporation law, entitled Commentaries and Cases on the Law of Business Organization.
Bill’s interest in the broader world around him, his analytical powers, and his experienced judgement were respected by all. And beyond his undoubted intellectual power, Bill was a great friend and mentor to all those involved in XBMA. He was devoted to his family, and his warmth and humanity touched us all deeply. We extend our deepest condolences to his loving wife Annie, his sons and his entire family.