Events James McRitchie will attend

James McRitchie, CorpGov.net Publisher

During the height of proxy season, I will mostly just be posting my votes at companies where I am a shareowner and have a proposal on the proxy. For advice on other proxies, see Shareholder Action: Vote to see how pre-disclosing funds voted. Events CorpGov.net publisher James McRitchie will attend:

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Tesla Motors Inc: Proxy Score 50

Tesla Motors IncTesla Motors Inc $TSLA, designs, develops, manufactures and sells electric vehicles and energy storage products. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 31, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST compensation committee; FOR Reduce Supermajority. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 71% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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BlackRock Inc: Proxy Score 59

BlackRock Inc

BlackRock Inc: Before You Vote Your Proxy

BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK) provides investment and risk management services to institutional and retail clients across the world. Its product offerings include single- and multi-asset class portfolios investing in equities, fixed income, alternatives and money market instruments..

Their annual meeting is coming up on May 25, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay plan, compensation committee, director with poor attendance; FOR Proxy Access, Report on Proxy Voting and Executive Compensation. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 59% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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Ellie Mae: Proxy Score 71

Ellie MaeEllie Mae Inc (NYSE:ELLI, $ELLI) is a provider of on-demand software solutions and services for the residential mortgage industry in the United States. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 25, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of no fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST Bonus Plan; FOR Proxy Access. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 71% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Goldman Sachs: Proxy Vote 50

Goldman Sachs

Lloyd Blankfein, combined Chair/CEO – smiling

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS, $GS) is a bank holding company and a financial holding company. The annual meeting of Goldman Sachs is coming up on May 20, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee; FOR all shareholder proposals. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 50% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

Graphic from Bidness: Goldman Sachs Group Inc Lloyd Blankfein Heads the List of Top-Paid CEOs. See also  SumOfUs campaign.

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Digital Strategies Fellow: As You Sow

Digital Strategies Fellow Digital Strategies Fellow sought by As You Sow to assist the Director of Digital Strategies with research, data analysis, project management, and outreach to stakeholders.

This position is a unique opportunity to merge technical and programmatic skills. You will be part of a team developing web tools and data-driven approaches to financial transparency and environmental and social issues, including climate change. Help us identify problems, seek out and analyze data, make it available to the public over the web, and coordinate with stakeholders around the world to spread the word. Continue Reading →

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Nextera Energy: Proxy Score 50

Nextera EnergyNextEra Energy Inc (NYSE:NEE, $NEE) is an electric power company in North America with electric generating facilities located in over 30 states in the United States and approximately five provinces in Canada. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 19, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund family when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee, stock plan; FOR all shareholder proposals, especially proxy access. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 50% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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Proto Labs: Proxy Score 45

Proto LabsProto Labs Inc (NYSE:PRLB, $PRLB) is an online manufacturer of custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 19, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected no votes when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, stock plan, compensation committee members (Black, Gawlick, & Smith); Vote FOR my proxy access proposal. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 45% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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JPMorgan Chase: Proxy Score 47

JPMorganJPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM, $JPM)  is a financial holding company. The Company is engaged in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. The annual meeting is coming up on May 17, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund family when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee; FOR all shareholder proposals. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 53% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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Virtual Meetings: Can Shareholder Proposals Stem the Tide?

virtual meetingsVirtual meetings are quickly being adopted by entrenched boards who fear any attempt by shareholders, especially retail shareholders, to hold them accountable. Annual meetings are the only place shareholders are likely to meet with the managers and boards of the companies they invest in, as well as with employees of those companies and with other shareowners. Comcast (CMCSA) spins their May 16 meeting as one that “will provide expanded shareholder access and participation, improved communications and, over time, cost savings for our shareholders and company.”

Virtual Meetings: The Liecomcast

If their real concern was to please their shareholders, Comcast would hold a hybrid meeting — allowing shareholders to attend in person or via the Internet. Don’t let them fool you, Comcast is locking out its shareowners to avoid embarrassing questions and accountability, not to reach out and communicate with their shareholders or to save a few dollars on coffee or a room rental. Shareholders are not clamoring for virtual-only meetings. The Council of Institutional Investors ($3 trillion in member assets) maintains a policy favoring hybrid meetings but clearly opposes stand alone virtual meetings:  Continue Reading →

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CalPERS Election Rules: Comments

CalPERS Election RulesCalPERS election rules, an obscure topic for most. Although the board of administration of CalPERS is very powerful, interest in CalPERS election rules is low. When proposed rules were discussed at a recent public meeting, I was the only one to provide any feedback. I expect that when there is a public hearing on the CalPERS election rules, I will be the only one testifying. Like corporate governance, pension fund governance gets too little attention.

I have seen much worse proposals before. For example, when they attempted to use CalPERS election rules to muzzle critics (CalPERS muzzles critics: Ballot rules protect board, keep others in the dark). The newly proposed election rules are not of that variety. Still, they hint at a certain degree of arrogance by seeking to put the Board above the law.

The current rulemaking attempts to create flexibility in CalPERS election rules by allowing the board to create rules of general application without going through the legally required rulemaking process. Sound like a technicality? Maybe, but democracy depends on the rules and an open process. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

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UNP – Union Pacific: Proxy Score 47

UNPUNP – Union Pacific ($UNP), operates through its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad Company. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 12, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee; FOR both shareholder proposals: #4 execs to retain stock and #5 transition to an independent chair. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 47% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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Ford Motor: Proxy Score 53

Ford Motor CompanyFord Motor Company (NYSE:F, $F) manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 12, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee, poison pill; FOR shareholder proposals to transition out of dual class shares and to lower the threshold to call a special meeting. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 58% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc: Proxy Score 37

Chipotle Mexican Grill, IncChipotle Mexican Grill, Inc (NYSE:CMG, $CMG) develops and operates Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants, which serve a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 11, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of 2 funds when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee, audit chair, fake management reforms; FOR all shareholder proposals, especially genuine proxy access. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 37% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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Gilead Sciences, Inc: Proxy Score 46

gilead-sciences-inc-gild

Graphic from Bidnessetc.com

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASD:GILD, $GILD) is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 11,2016.  ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee, bonus plan. FOR proposal to allow shareholder action by written consent. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 46% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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