Stepping into the CorpGov.net WayBack Machine, here’s just a few of the issues we were covering in the past.
“The last time someone voluntarily gave up power was in 1800, when George Washington did it,” said Les Greenberg. Greenberg wants shareholders of cafeteria operator Luby’s to vote in favor of removing anti-takeover devices, electing directors annually and canceling bonuses for management if sales, profits or the share price decline. Oh, and he’s also running for the board. San Antonio Express-News writer Bill Day observed that “a decade after democracy finally sprouted in Russia, Eastern Europe and South Africa, it makes sense that a pro-democracy movement would be pushed in corporations.”
Executive compensation expert Graef Crystal continues to hammer on excessive compensation. By 2015 the ratio of the average executive’s pay to that of the average worker will approach that which existed in 1789, when Louis XVI was king of France. “And you know what happened to Louis XVI,” he says. “And by the way, they got his wife, too.”
Since 1971, this socially responsible mutual fund has made their voting results available to shareholders upon request. Now, with the help of Proxy Monitor, Pax World has taken the next step, joining Domini Social Investments in posting their proxy voting decisions.
Compensation for directors of large US companies was up 18% in 2004, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
Wilshire Associates told CalPERS the $190 billion fund’s annual target list of underachievers generated an extra 15.3% in stock value over a five-year period, a dramatic drop from 54% in 1995. < One of the most common questions we get from readers is: “How do I get on a corporate board?” Now, Directors & Boards devotes almost an entire issue to that subject.
The Corporate Monitoring Project’s Mark Latham scored a very respectable 11.4% affirmative vote for a recent proxy advisor proposal. Similar to previous resolutions by the Project, it called on Metro One Telecommunications to hire a proxy advisory firm for one year, to be chosen by shareowner vote.
Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) launched Share Power to facilitate the ability of individuals to voice their concerns to institutions that hold investments and are required to vote proxies on their behalf.
In “Tocqueville at 200” a recent Wall Street Journal editorial badly misinterprets Alexis de Tocqueville’s vision. (7/29/05, page W13) Although concerned about possible tyranny by majorities, central to his democracy are three defining elements: equality of rights, separation of powers, and representatives engaging in public debate. For a better take, download Democracy in Corporatia: Tocqueville and the Evolution of Corporate Governance by Pierre-Yves Gomez, Unité Pédagogique et de Recherche Stratégie et Organisation and Harry Korine, London Business School, 10/2003. Magnifique!