Events James McRitchie will attend

James McRitchie

The Handbook of Board Governance: A Comprehensive Guide for Public, Private, and Not-for-Profit Board Members  read my Chapter 21, The Individual’s Role in Driving Corporate Governance. My current focus is on proxy access lite bylaws that don’t meet CII best practices. and exploring possible broad-based ownership structures. Don’t miss these events:

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WD-40 Win Win – Majority Vote Standard

WD-40 win winWD-40 win win is due to a shareholder proposal filed by James McRitchie and directors who want good corporate governance practices. Earlier this week, I reported that Broadridge amended its proxy proxy access bylaws to allow groups of 50 to nominate directors. Now WD-40 has filed bylaws to implement McRitchie’s proposal requesting that uncontested directors be elected only by a majority vote. Continue Reading →

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Broadridge Amends Proxy Access: Allows 50

Broadridge Amends Proxy AccessHave you heard the news? Broadridge amends proxy access bylaws on July 6, 2017, to do the following:

  1. Increase the number of stockholders that can aggregate their shares to make a proxy access Board nomination from 20 to 50 stockholders,
  2. Eliminate a requirement to count individual funds within a mutual fund family as separate shareholders for purposes of satisfying the minimum ownership requirements to make a proxy access nomination, and
  3. Eliminate a requirement that a previously nominated proxy access nominee achieve a specified level of shareholder approval in order to be eligible for re-nomination.

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Corporate Governance Experts on 21c Fox Bid for Sky

UK DCM&SOn Thursday 16 March in a statement to Parliament the Secretary of State confirmed that she was intervening in the proposed merger between 21st Century Fox, Inc and Sky plc on the media public interest grounds of plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards. This began the process whereby Ofcom and the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) prepared reports on the public interests specified and jurisdictional issues, respectively. Continue Reading →

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Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility: CHOICE Act

Interfaith Center on Corporate ResponsibilityThe Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of institutional investors representing $200 billion in invested capital that engage corporations on the environmental and social impacts of their operations, sent a letter yesterday to all U.S. Senators urging them not to pass the Financial CHOICE Act.

The proposed legislation, which passed the House and is currently pending in the Senate, would not only eviscerate critical financial reforms instituted in response to the 2008 financial crash, but would also eliminate the long-standing right of shareholders to exercise their voice regarding the governance of the companies they own. Continue Reading →

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Hybrid Listed Cooperatives

Hybrid Listed Cooperatives

Hybrid Listed Cooperatives attempt to consider more stakeholders

Innovations in Cooperative Ownership: Converted and Hybrid Listed Cooperatives (Link), by O.F. van Bekkum and J. Bijman, is one of the more interesting research papers I have read since our proposal for Twitter (TWTR) to study cooperatives won 5% of the vote, making it eligible for resubmission for the 2018 annual meeting. Before we redo the proposal (and perhaps expand its use to other companies), I want to examine the available research. If you lean of other studies, please let me know. For background on the 2017 proposal at Twitter and alternatives, see the following: Continue Reading →

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Investor Letter to BRT (Business Roundtable)

Publisher’s Note: The following guest post from Timothy Smith reproduces a recent investor letter to the BRT (Business Roundtable) concerning the importance of shareholder resolutions. I added title, graphics, changed some of the formatting and added a note about the BRT for background. See also previous posts: Financial CHOICE Act: From too big to fail, to too big to listen and Financial CHOICE Act: Take Action. Download the original letter via pdf.

Walden Asset Management

 

 

 

 

July 6, 2017
Mr. Joshua Bolton
President and CEO
The Business Roundtable
300 New Jersey Avenue, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. Bolton:

We are writing to express the deep concerns of numerous investors regarding the Business Roundtable’s active campaign to effectively end the ability of most investors to file shareholder resolutions for a vote at corporate annual general meetings. Continue Reading →

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MBII Annual Meeting Gone Missing

MBII, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., was added to the Russell Microcap Index after the market closed on June 23, 2017. Hopefully, that will provide some needed stability to this volatile stock, so it is great news. However, corporate governance concerns remain. For example, when will our company hold the 2017 annual meeting?

MBII Has Plenty of Positives

According to Dr. Pamela Marrone, Founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations,

We are very pleased to have joined the Russell Microcap Index. This is an important milestone for Marrone Bio Innovations and represents an opportunity to increase our visibility within the public market investment community.

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Alphabet Shareholders Overwhelmingly Support Equal Voting

Alphabet DemocracyAt Alphabet, Inc.’s most recent annual meeting on June 7, 2017, class A shareholders overwhelmingly supported a shareholder proposal asking company management to recapitalize the share structure so that each share has one vote. According to the proponents of the proposal, assuming that all outstanding class B shares were similarly voted, then up to 99.8% of class A shareholders supported the proposal. Of class B insider shares, if only executive officers and directors of the company are counted, then an estimated 88.7% of class A shareholders still supported this proposal. Continue Reading →

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Capitalists Arise!: Serve Stakeholders

Peter Georgescu

Peter Georgescu

Peter Georgescu’s Capitalists Arise!: End Economic Inequality, Grow the Middle Class, Heal the Nation correctly identifies short-termism and a focus on stock price as a problem contributing to growing wealth inequality. His solutions depend on enlightened managers and boards to transform how America does business by taking all stakeholders into account, not just shareholders. I say, don’t count on enlightened self-interest by those now in control. They are unlikely to overturn the system that benefits them.

Transformation is not likely to come from those in power, even if it would be to the advantage of all. Transformation must be demanded from below. Any transformation system that purports to consider all stakeholders must effectively redistribute power. We cannot depend on benevolent dictatorships like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Alphabet’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page to act as if all stakeholders matter. To get where Georgescu correctly wants to go, there must be a real shift in power. Continue Reading →

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RBI to Curb Antibiotics in Chicken

RBI burger king logoRestaurant Brands International (RBI), parent of Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes,  announced its decision to purchase only chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine by the end of 2018, a major sustainability milestone for the world’s third-largest fast food restaurant operator.

RBI came to an agreement in March 2016 with As You Sow,a non-profit shareholder advocacy group, to set timelines to prohibit the use of medically important antibiotics in its global meat and poultry supply chains. In response to this commitment, As You Sow withdrew a shareholder resolution calling for reduced antibiotic use in the Company’s products. Continue Reading →

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What Ought to Be: Why Grow Up?

Why Grow Up? between what is and what ought to be

Why Grow Up? between what is and what ought to be

According to Susan Neiman, the most important distinction in the world is the difference between what is and what ought to be. Recognizing that distinction is central to the process of growing up. (Why Grow Up?: Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age)

You need not be Peter Pan to feel uneasy about the prospect of becoming adult. Indeed, it’s easy to argue that Peter Pan, most drastically imitated by Michael Jackson, is an emblem of our times. Being grown-up is widely considered to be a matter of renouncing your hopes and dreams, accepting the limits of the reality you are given, and resigning yourself to a life that will be less adventurous, worthwhile and significant than you supposed when you began it.

However, life doesn’t have to be less adventurous if you never give up on creating what ought to be. We all have an opportunity to change our culture, if only in small increments. Too many people are sleepwalking through life, thinking what is given can not be changed. Of course, it helps to know where we are and how we got there to understand what changes are possible or most likely. Continue Reading →

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Kite Pharma Proxy Voting Guide

Kite PharmaKite Pharma, Inc. (KITE), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the development and commercialization of novel cancer immunotherapy products. Kite is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of no fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 20th, 2017.

I voted FOR Proposal #3 to Declassify the Board. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 43% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Genomic Health Proxy Voting Guide

Genomic Health proxy 2017Genomic Health Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. Genomic Health (GHDX), a healthcare company, provides actionable genomic information to personalize cancer treatment decisions in the United States and internationally. It develops and commercializes genomic-based clinical laboratory services that analyze the underlying biology of cancer, allowing physicians and patients to make individualized treatment decisions.  Genomic Health is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of no fund family when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 15, 2017.

I voted FOR #5 proxy access, proposed by me. See how and why I voted this and other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 62% of the time. View proxy via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Caterpillar Inc Proxy Voting Guide

Caterpillar Inc Proxy Statement

Caterpillar Inc Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net

Sorry, this Caterpillar Inc Proxy Voting Guide comes late, since tomorrow is the last day to vote unless you attend the annual meeting. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives for heavy and general construction, rental, quarry, aggregate, mining, waste, material handling, oil and gas, power generation, marine, rail, and industrial markets. Caterpillar is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked and voted on the last day. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 14, 2017.

I voted FOR our proposal to reduce the threshold required to hold a special meeting. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 70% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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