Gardner Courson is a corporate strategy leader, an innovative software developer and an entrepreneurial business executive who has worked on and with boards to trans-form and grow companies — from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations, and across industries including technology, manufacturing, financial services and software development.
He is a frequently sought-after expert on corporate governance and compliance, having successfully managed high-profile SEC, state and global internal investigations – as well as thousands of lawsuits – as an executive counsel (Tyco International), and multiple extremely important investor lawsuits as audit committee “point man” (Advance America).
Based on those real-world experiences, Mr. Courson has shared his expertise as a participant/speaker for an intensive, case study-based Harvard Business School workshop for board audit committees and as a participant in a PriceWaterhouse forum for financial services board members on the effects of the Dodd-Frank legislation.
He also has been a key business adviser on grow-or-sell, product development and market expansion issues as a board member of a publicly traded financial services firm and a privately held software development company. He is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, and the Corporate Directors Group, where he has achieved the Professional Director Certification. He is a member of the McKinsey Quarterly Executive Panel and a Six Sigma Champion.
Mr. Courson currently a member of the Litigation practice of Taylor English Duma LLP, Atlanta, GA, focusing on class action cases, complex business litigation and compliance investigations for Fortune 500 clients.
He also is marrying his business and legal expertise in a new entrepreneurial software venture, having created and filed patents for TACTIX™, designed to help corporate law departments apply business process efficiency to legal cases; and PREVIEW™, for businesses to manage more complex litigation, including “decision tree” cost-benefit/case strength, e-discovery analysis, and jury research.
The TACTIX program is being developed by Bridgeway Software, a $25 million private company with 350 corporate clients, on whose board Mr. Courson has sat since 2007, providing advice on the corporate law market and his business process efficiency approach to litigation-focused products.
From 2010 to April 2012, Mr. Courson served on the board of NYSE-traded Advance America, the largest U.S. non-bank cash advance services provider. He helped the board weigh competing growth strategy/company sale options, and was a key audit committee member in recommending and helping facilitate favorable settlement of derivatives-related shareholder lawsuits blocking the eventual profitable sale of the company, announced in February 2012.
Recruited by the new leadership of Tyco International to navigate the legal/regulatory fallout of the Kozlowski-era corruption scandal, he served as corporate Deputy General Counsel and General Counsel of the $12 billion Tyco Fire & Security division (2002-2007). As liaison to the board’s audit committee, he managed the defense of 55 securities class actions and thousands of other lawsuits, and SEC and New York state legal actions. He also led internal investigations globally, spearheading significant leadership changes and a new compliance-focused corporate culture. At Fire & Security, he pioneered a cost-effective business approach to litigation using Six Sigma methodology.
Before joining Tyco, he practiced corporate trial law for 25 years: in the labor and employment practice of McGuireWoods, serving as Managing Partner of its Atlanta office and on its national Board of Partners; and as a partner in Ogletree Deakins, Atlanta.
Mr. Courson earned his JD degree from Emory University School of Law (1974) recently chairing the development committee of its Board of Advisors; and his BS in Commerce & Management from the University of Virginia (1970), having served on the Advisory Board of its McIntire School of Commerce (1996-2014).
State Bar of Georgia
Bridgeway Software Inc., Board of Directors
Advance America, Board of Directors
Emory University School of Law, Dean's Advisory Council, Member and Chair
University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, Dean’s Advisory Board, Member, 1996-2014
- April 26, 2011
Emory University School of Law, JD, 1974
University of Virginia, BS, Commerce, 1970
Courts & Adjudicative Bodies
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court