Premiere Global Services: How I Voted – Proxy Score 11

Premiere Global Services ($PGI) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 6/13/2012. Voting ends 6/12 on Moxy Vote’s proxy voting platform, which had 3 recommendations “from good causes” when I checked and voted on 6/6/2012. However, two were consolidations, so they really only had recommendations from Calvert. ProxyDemocracy.org had information on 2 funds voting.  I voted with management 11% of the time.

I generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions where something obviously warrants different treatment. According to Bebchuk, Lucian A. and Grinstein, Yaniv (The Growth of Executive Pay, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol. 21, Issue 2, pp. 283-303, 2005), aggregate compensation by public companies to NEO increased from 5 percent in 1993-1995 to about 10 percent in 2001-2003.

Few firms want to admit to having average executives. They survey executive compensation at corporations and then set compensation packages that are above average for their “peer group,” which is often chosen aspirationally. While the “Lake Woebegone effect” may be nice in fictional towns, “where all the children are above average,” it doesn’t work well for society to have all CEOs considered above average and their collective pay spiraling out of control. We need to slow the pace of money going to the 1% if our economy is not to become third-world.

PGI’s SummaryCompensation Table shows Boland T. Jones, CEO/Chair, was the highest paid named executive officer (NEO) at over $2.9M in 2011. I’m using Yahoo! Finance to determine market cap and  Wikipedia’s rule of thumb regarding classification. According to those sources, at about $397.5M PGI is a small-cap company. According to the United States Proxy Exchange (USPX) guidelines (pages 9&10), using data from Equilar, the median CEO compensation at small-cap corporations was $2.2 million in 2010, so PGI’s pay is well above that median.

On that basis, I voted against the pay plan and against the compensation committee members: Wilkie S. Colyer, Chairman and John R. Harris. I saw that CalSTRS and CBIS voted against all the directors. Hoping they have done this on the basis of good research, I decided to join with them in also voting against the other directors.

Mark your calendars; here’s the deadline for proposals by shareowners for next year:

Any shareholder proposal received at our principal executive offices before November 24, 2012 or after December 24, 2012 will be considered untimely and, if presented at the 2013 annual meeting of shareholders, the proxy holders will be able to exercise discretionary authority to vote on any such proposal to the extent authorized by Rule 14a-4(c) promulgated under the Exchange Act.

Here’s how I actually voted using Moxy Vote’s proxy voting platform. I included how all announced funds voted, as displayed at ProxyDemocracy.orgWhat do you think?

NUM. PROPOSAL TEXT CorpGov.net CBIS CALSTRS
1.1 Elect Director Boland T. Jones Withhold Withhold Withhold
1.2 Elect Director Wilkie S. Colyer Withhold Withhold Withhold
1.3 Elect Director K. Robert Draughon Withhold Withhold Withhold
1.4 Elect Director John R. Harris Withhold Withhold Withhold
1.5 Elect Director W. Steven Jones Withhold Withhold Withhold
1.6 Elect Director Raymond H. Pirtle, Jr. Withhold Withhold Withhold
1.7 Elect Director J. Walker Smith, Jr. Withhold Withhold Withhold
2 Advisory Vote to Ratify NEOs’ Compensation Against For Against
3 Ratify Auditors For Against For

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