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John Byrd, Senior Instructor of Finance and Managing for Sustainability


  • Financial Management (BUSN 6640)
  • Financial Decision and Policies (FNCE 6310)
  • International Corporate Governance (FNCE/INTB 6411)
  • Business and the Natural Environment (BUSN 6830)
  • Business and Global Climate Change (BUSN 6870 )


Corporate Governance

  • Board of Directors
  • Executive Pay

Sustainable Business

  • Climate change and carbon offsets
  • Demographic change and sustainability
  • Context-based Sustainability

I feel very lucky to teach and do research in the very dynamic areas of governance and sustainability. It is a good news-bad news situation, but every term there seems to be some new governance issue to talk about. This year CEO pay, bonuses on Wall Street and how incentives contributed to the economic meltdown are big topics. The combination of population growth and changing composition, climate change and sporadically constrained energy supplies makes sustainability an important topic for business people. New MBAs need to understand how a cap-and-trade system to price carbon will work, what the threats and opportunities of climate change might be, how to analyze investments with differing dependence on fossil fuels, and so on. At the Business School we hope we are preparing our students for the future they will help shape.

Teaching Philosophy

My approach to teaching changes from class to class. For the introductory MBA finance class (Financial Management BUSN6640) my goal is to make sure everyone understands the material that they will need for the rest of their MBA program. To this end, my online class is highly structured with lots of ways to practice and get feedback on these fundamental concepts and skills. This approach of thorough coverage with detailed feedback also underlies the capstone MBA finance case class (Financial Decisions and Policies FNCE6310) that I usually teach in the spring.

The other classes that I teach - Corporate Governance and Sustainable Business - do not have a set body of knowledge. In fact, these topics areas are evolving so quickly that it is hard to keep up with the changes and developments. In these classes after introducing some standard material I tend to act more like a facilitator. Students bring a lot of knowledge and excitement to these classes, so their interests and current events help define at least part of the class. From one semester to the next I tend to change at least a few of the topics covered to better reflect what is current. For me the highlight of these classes are the discussions - often fairly free-form - and the end-of-term projects. The projects are presentations hared over the on-line environment and the topics are wide ranging and the quality is almost uniformly excellent. We learn a lot from each other. In a nutshell, my philosophy for these classes is to open the door on a large topic area and let students explore and share.


Academic Positions

  • Senior Instructor, University of Colorado Denver, 2004-present
  • Visiting Lecturer, Ecole Supérieure de Commerce, Rouen, France (1 week per semester), 1999-present
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Fort Lewis College, 1997-2004
  • Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Denver, 1996-1997
  • Visiting Professor of Finance, University of Oregon, 1996 (Spring)
  • Instructor, Fort Lewis College, 1992-1995
  • Assistant Professor, Washington State University, 1987-1992


  • PhD, Finance, University of Oregon, 1988
  • MPPM, Finance and Public Policy Analysis, Yale University, 1979
  • BA, Mathematics, Fort Lewis College, 1977


Recent Journal Articles

  • "Determinants of Corporate Carbon Reduction Targets" (forthcoming) Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, (with Elizabeth Cooperman and Kenneth Bettenhausen).
  • "Explaining the Location of Mission- Driven Businesses: An Examination of B-Corps," Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Volume 55, September 2014 (with Leila Hickman and Kent Hickman)
  • "Let's Talk: An Analysis of the "Vote vs. Negotiated Withdrawal" Decision for Social Activist Environmental Health Shareholder Resolutions," Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment, Volume 4, Issue 3, 2014. (with Elizabeth Cooperman).
  • "Context-Based Sustainability and Corporate CO2 Reduction Targets: Are Companies Moving Fast Enough?" International Review of Accounting, Banking, and Finance, Fall/Winter 2013, Vol. 5 (3/4), 87-104. (with Ken Bettenhausen and Elizabeth Cooperman).
  • "Behavioral Economics and Corporate Sustainability" The Sustainability Review, 3 (April 2012) (with Kent Hickman).
  • "Are two heads better than one? Evidence from the thrift crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance 36 (2012) 957–967 (with Donald R. Fraser, Scott Lee and Semih Tartaroglu).
  • "Environmental Risk and Shareholder Returns: Evidence from the Announcement of the Toxic 100 Index," International Review of Accounting, Banking and Finance, 2 (Fall 2010) 28-45 (with Kenneth Bettenhausen and Elizabeth Cooperman)
  • "Financial Policies and the Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow: Evidence from the Oil Industry" International Review of Accounting, Banking and Finance, 2 (Summer 2010) 23-50.
  • "Director Tenure and the Compensation of Bank CEOs," Managerial Finance, Vol. 36 Iss: 2, pp.86 - 102 (with Elizabeth Cooperman and Glenn Wolfe).
  • "The Shareholder Wealth Effects of an Executive Joining Another Company's Board," International Journal of Managerial Finance, (2010) Vol. 6 Iss: 1, pp.48 – 57 (with Ann Martin and Subhrendu Rath).
  • "Super-Size Me and Stock Prices," Journal of the Academy of Finance, Summer 2008, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp. 120-124. (with Kent Hickman and Bruno Cohanier).
  • "Another Look at Director Independence," International Review of Accounting, Banking and Finance, 1 (April 2009) 76-91 (with Elizabeth Cooperman and Glenn Wolfe).

Other Recent Items

  • "Wal-Mart redefines "green business," Denver Business Journal, July 24, 2009.
  • "Jane McMillan and the EPA's TRI Data" and "Centennial Specialty Chemicals' Sustainability Report" Teaching cases funded by EPA Grant TI97854701-0

Selected Older Journal Articles

  • "Life Cycle Investing, Holding Periods and Risk," The Journal of Portfolio Management 27(2 Winter 2001) 101-111 (with Kent Hickman, Hugh Hunter, John Beck and Will Terpening).
  • "Discretion in Financial Reporting: The Voluntary Disclosure of Compensation Peer Groups in Proxy Statement Performance Graphs," Contemporary Accounting Research, 15(1 Spring, 1998), 25-52 (with Marilyn F. Johnson and Susan L. Porter).
  • "Stockholder-Manager Conflicts and Firm Value," Financial Analysts Journal, 54 (3 May/June, 1998) 14-30 (with Robert Parrino and Gunnar Pritsch).
  • "Success and Failure in the Market for Corporate Control: Evidence from the Petroleum Industry" The Financial Review, 32 (4 November, 1997), 635-658 (with William Stammerjohan).
  • "Estimating the Opportunity Cost of Capital for the Undiversified Business Owner," Journal of Small Business Finance, 4 (2/3, 1995), 191-196 (with Kent Hickman and Clarence Barnes).
  • "Environmental Protection and Forward Contracts: A Note on the New Sulfur Dioxide Emission Allowances" Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 6 (Fall 1993) 109-110 (with Tom Zwirlein).
  • "The Case for Independent Outside Directors" Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 5 (Fall 1992) 78-82 (with Kent Hickman).
  • "Do Outside Directors Monitor Managers: Evidence from Tender Offers" Journal of Financial Economics, 32 (October 1992) 195-221 (with Kent Hickman).

Current Projects

  • Organizational Commitment and Carbon Emissions Reductions.
  • Stranded Assets and the Valuation of Coal Companies.
  • Biases in Donations to International NGOs
  • How Companies Show Authenticity in their Sustainability Reports

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