John Pound is an investor, adviser, board leader, executive, researcher, and author. For the past 25 years he has worked with CEOs, leadership teams, founders and boards to create value, with a focus on investment-driven involvements in vision-driven, branded consumer-facing companies. Previously, he worked in academia and policy, and also advised companies and investors on matters relating to corporate control.
Pound began his career earning a PhD at Yale, with research focused on the efficiency of the governance process and the market for corporate control, and additional research on investor behavior. He spent a decade on the Harvard faculty and two years at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he helped to lead the development of modern activist public equity investing and the movement for more involved, engaged, value-oriented corporate boards. He advised numerous Fortune 50 CEOs and boards navigating crises in governance and performance,and prominent activist investors on strategies for engaging constructively with underperforming companies. His research appeared in a spectrum of leading publications including The Journal of Finance, The Journal of Financial Economics, The Journal of Law and Economics, The Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.
Pound left academia to pursue full-time work with leaders on value creation. Since then he has engaged across sectors and in nonprofits to evolve visions and manage a full range of strategic and operating challenges. He founded Integrity Brands as a masthead for a subset of these involvements: involvements in creatively-driven, product-led consumer-facing companies. Through Integrity, he has invested in and helped guide (as a board member, adviser, board chair, and interim CEO) turnarounds at major national public companies, including Gymboree, Cost Plus World Market, Vans, Guess, Christopher and Banks, United Retail Group, and others. He has served on multiple public and private company boards and helped to build and support vision-driven leadership teams. He has also led early stage investments in impact-oriented emerging consumer brands, and, while living in the UK, invested in and worked with heritage English brands.
Pound has served as a strategic advisor to private equity firms, investment banks, and public equity funds; developed strategy for large activist investment organizations; advised leading institutional investors on their corporate governance programs; and helped to found the first $1B US public equity fund focused on activist investments. He has advised major public companies on value creation, leadership and governance; developed takeover offense and defense strategies for public companies; and has advised investment partnerships on portfolio strategy and decision-making.
Pound has maintained an involvement with education, advising and serving on the boards of educational and research institutions. He helps to lead program development at the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona, focused on expanding and strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the University and reaching, inspiring, and supporting student entrepreneurs across disciplines, particularly in the creative and consumer-facing areas.
Pound resides in Tucson, Arizona with his family, various old vehicles, and his beloved, aging cocker spaniel.