David Lax

David Lax is Managing Principal of Lax Sebenius LLC, a firm that assists companies and governments in complex negotiations and competitive bidding.  Dr. Lax was a professor at the Harvard Business School and in 1982, he co-founded the Negotiation Roundtable, an ongoing forum in which hundreds of negotiations have been examined to extract their most valuable lessons.  He currently serves as a Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project and teaches in the Advanced Negotiation workshop of the Harvard Negotiation Institute.

With Professor James Sebenius, Dr. Lax co-founded and co-taught in Harvard Business School’s highly-rated week-long executive education course on Strategic Negotiation. Upon leaving the Harvard Business School full-time faculty, he served as an investment banker representing labor unions and then joined the direct equity investment operation of a wealthy Canadian family, where he was involved in transactions including venture capital investments, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures, privatizations, and financings.

Dr. Lax advises on negotiations ranging from commercial contracts, joint ventures, and strategic alliances to large mergers and acquisitions in a wide range of industries Representative engagements include the $30 billion industry-consolidating merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo, advising Verizon Wireless on the strategy for bidding for personal communications service spectrum licenses (Verizon Wireless had winning bids of roughly $1.1 billion); advising a consumer products company on the sale of a line of business raising the sale price from client’s optimistic estimate of $10MM to deal valued at $45MM; assisting a company in exiting from a three-company joint venture, saving an estimated  £125 MM by avoiding a  £50 MM put and enabling a favorable asset sale; advising an international oil company on negotiations with host governments involving exploration and development, on joint ventures with state oil companies, with local partners in various downstream businesses, and on the divestiture of assets; and advising a company in the settlement of a multi-billion dollar shareholder class action lawsuit and derivative state suits.

Corporate clients include American Express, Bombardier, Credit Suisse, Diageo, Ericsson, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Rhodia, Royal Dutch Shell, Schlumberger, Telstra, and Verizon Wireless.  He has also worked on behalf of a number of governments including Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States.

Educated at Princeton (A.B., magna cum laude), Stanford and Harvard, he holds a doctorate in statistics from Harvard. Dr. Lax has helped start two investment management companies.  He serves on the boards of a privately held health care company and a privately held company that provides services to resource extractive industries and was chairman of the board of a privately held oil and gas company.

Select Publications:

Lax, David, and James K. Sebenius. 3-D Negotiation: Powerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006.

Lax, David A., and James K. Sebenius. The Manager as Negotiator: Bargaining for Cooperation and Competitive Gain. N.Y.: Free Press, 1986.

Research interests:  3-D Negotiation, negotiation campaigns, systematic approaches to improving organizations’ negotiation capabilities, and strategic reasoning.

Link to website: http://www.negotiate.com/about/team/david-lax


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