Steven Towns summarizes action taken to date concerning Symantec’s run at a virtual-only meeting. I’m delighted that he will be working with the the US Proxy Exchange on a white paper to identify key issues and opportunities, seek member input, and publish final virtual meeting guidelines. (Symantec and the Importance of Shareholder Meetings — Seeking Alpha, 11/9/2010)
I’ll be happy to help with the white paper. We need to focus on the issues but should keep in mind not only how meetings currently operate but what ideal meetings should look like. Virtual meetings promise greater exposure of meetings to shareowners but right now, virtual-only meetings also allow company management to hide. Delaware law only requires shareowners to be able to hear the proceedings of virtual-only meetings. Communication doesn’t even have to be two-way.
We certainly don’t want to settle for that minimum. If shareowners are to approve virtual-only meetings, we should do so only if they will increase our ability to communicate and to hold our boards accountable.