Intel Yields on Virtual Meeting

From a IntelOurPublicStatementRegardingVirtualMeeting: “In the fall of 2009 Intel indicated it was going to attempt an experiment and hold its’ 2010 stockholders meeting entirely on the web, moving from a physical annual meeting to a virtual meeting.

A number of shareholders expressed support for the expansion of the annual meeting via the web, but voiced concerns about the elimination of the physical meeting and the lack of accountability of the Board and top management if there was no physical meeting with in-person interaction possible.  This would be particularly true if stockholder resolutions were being presented or probing questions asked of Board members.

Intel discussed this issue with investors seeking advice on ways to make the virtual meeting as fair and transparent as possible and also discussed concerns about the downside of eliminating the physical meeting.

Concerned investors wrote letters, talked to management and several actually filed a shareholder proposal urging a continuation of physical stockholder meetings.

After deliberation, in January Intel reported to concerned investors that they had decided to continue to hold a physical annual meeting in 2010 and were putting aside the virtual only meeting.

Investors led by Walden Asset Management and United for a Fair Economy (UFE) commended Intel and UFE withdrew the shareholder resolution on the issue. A UFE member had filed the resolution along with Walden clients.

They indicated support for creative expanded virtual access to the stockholders meeting stressing it must be combined with an in-person meeting.

In addition, two other resolutions were withdrawn after discussions with Intel, one asking for increased transparency on succession planning and the other on Board diversity.”

We congratulate Timothy Smith and others involved in these negotiations. Intel made made the right decision. Another important factor in Intel’s decision many have been a threatened “withhold proxy campaign,” from the Investor Suffrage Movement.   (see our prior coverage, Guest Commentary From Glyn Holton: Emergency at Intel, 12/2/09) That group is planning to hold a conference later this year to discuss what safeguards are necessary before they would consider endorsing virtual shareowner meetings. Intel has agreed to participate in that upcoming conference.

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