A message from Jim Kristie, editor and associate publisher of Directors & Boards:
Annual meetings can be a frustrating and often futile exercise — in meeting statutory requirements, yes, but not much else as a worthy vehicle for demonstrating corporate leadership and enhancing shareholder relations.
Thus, the cover story for the first Directors & Boards issue of 2011 will be: “What’s Wrong with the Annual Meeting . . . and How to Fix It.” It comes out later this month.
The seed of this idea was planted this past summer when I was a peripheral participant in a study group looking at “Electronic Participation in Shareholder Meetings” — i.e., the pros and cons of virtual annual meetings and the practices necessary to satisfy the needs of all parties. This group was organized by a close colleague, Gary Lutin, through The Shareholder Forum initiative that he chairs.
The virtual annual meeting will be a dimension of the discussion, and possibly factor in as a key fix. And there will be other fixes that we should focus on for recrafting the annual meeting for a coming governance era of heightened transparency and disclosure.
Perhaps you participated in the survey that we sent last month to our e-Briefing audience. The results of that survey will be presented in this cover story.
Whether you participated in the survey or not, I welcome you to hit me with your best idea — in 100 words or less — for what could and should be done to bring the annual meeting of shareholders into the 21st century. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Depending on editorial space, I will group the responses into a “The e-Briefing Readers Speak” sidebar piece of the cover story. Do it quickly, because the article is being wrapped up this first week of February.