As we now know all too well, the credit crisis and the global recession stemmed, in important part, from stark failures of boards of directors and operating business leadership in important financial institutions: the witch's brew of leverage, poor risk management, creation of toxic products, lack of liquidity---all made more poisonous by compensation systems which rewarded short-term revenues/profits without regard to risk.
Buffeted by the recession and the seizing up of the credit markets, GM and Chrysler veered into bankruptcy, burdened by decades of questionable decisions.
As a result of these dramatic collapses in both the financial and industrial sectors, trust in corporate leaders--indeed in the ability of corporations to govern themselves--has eroded dramatically (even though there are, of course, well run corporations in both areas of the economy). This crisis in confidence, due to problems real or perceived, has spawned numerous public sector initiatives, both here and abroad, to impose new limits on private sector governance and self-determination.
In the financial sector, the regulatory debate is robust. It has focused on imposing direct, substantive government rules limiting private sector discretion: e.g. counter-cyclical capital requirements, liquidity protections, revised accounting standards, credit rating agency reform, regulatory review of executive compensation, regulatory approval of certain complex products, better consumer protection, assessment of systemic risk, and special oversight for large complex financial institutions.