Contest: Foxhole of the Year Award

Corporate Governance was founded in 1995 and we have never run a contest… until now. Announcing the Foxhole of the Year Award for the company that makes it the most difficult for shareowners turn up at their annual meeting.

Our first nomination came from John Chevedden for FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE). According to the $17 billion company:

You are invited to attend the 2013 FirstEnergy Corp. Annual Meeting of Shareholders at 8:00 a.m., Eastern time, on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at the Waterfront Place Hotel, Two Waterfront Place, Morgantown, WV 26501.

Morgantown has a permanent population of 29,660 per the 2010 census. Chevedden points out that FirstEnergy should have at least some company in their foxhole because of the number of shareowner proposals. From their proxy statement:

Item 5 — CEO Compensation Benchmarking. Utility Workers Union of America – 815 Sixteenth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20006 

Item 6 — Retirement Benefits. American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations – 815 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006  

Item 7 — Equity Retention. Trust for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Pension Benefit Fund – 900 Seventh Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (7,378 shares) 

Item 8 — Director Election Majority Vote Standard. United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Pension Fund – 101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 (6,396 shares) 

Item 9 — Act by Written Consent. John Chevedden – 2215 Nelson Avenue, No. 205, Redondo Beach, CA 90278 

Now comes a second nomination from Rob McGarrah of the AFL-CIO’s Office of Investment who writes that Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) moved their annual meeting from St. Louis to Gillette, Wyoming:

You are cordially invited to attend the 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Peabody Energy Corporation, which will be held on Monday, April 29, 2013, at 4:00 P.M., Mountain Time, at Gillette College, Gillette, Wyoming 82718.

Peabody is definitely in the running with Gillette, Wyoming. Gillette is the county seat of Campbell County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 29,087 in 2010. Although smaller than Morgantown, shareowners attending the Peabody AGM in Gillette have a chance of winning a contest for a free stay, if they entered early:

Register to win a Gillette Stay compliments of Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau. You will enjoy the Energy Capital of the United States, a place where 30 thousand people generate energy for 30 million people in the US.
Experience Campbell County history, shop historic downtown, find great accommodations and fine dining, golf or explore the Bighorn Mountains just a ways away. Opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors are yours here in Campbell County, home of Gillette, the largest city in northeastern Wyoming. And be sure to visit Wright to view their museum and tour a Bison Ranch. The value of this package is approximately $400.

This includes motel, dinner and activities for two:
•  Hotel Stay – 2 Nights – Accommodations for Two
•  Continental Breakfast for Two
•  Dinner Each Night for Two (excluding alcoholic beverages)
•  FREE Coal Mine Tour

Click here to register.  The drawing will be held March 1, 2013.  Oops, too late for most of us.

Like FirstEnergy, GMI Ratings scores Peabody low on ESG factors. There are lots of issues for shareowners to be concerned with. I wish them luck in Gillette.

Foxhole Contest Rules

We will make them up as we go. E-mail your nominations to James McRitchie (click on name) by May 15th. Be sure to include the invitation language from the proxy and your reasons as to why your nominee should be declared the winner. I’ll use a yet to be determined process to decide the winner and will send an appropriate cheap trophy, plaque, certificate or paper plate to the winning company’s CEO. Of course, I’ll also announce the winner here with some fanfare.

Famous meetings from the past:

  • The Sempra London meeting about 5-years ago. 
  • Didn’t Ted Turner hold a meeting in Russia – supposedly because of the Russian games?
  • What was the name of that company that had an early morning meeting in a remote corner of Texas? They rented all the motel rooms within 100 miles. But alas, the shareowner proponents weren’t out-foxed. They rented an RV. 
More examples from the past and ideas for that cheap award are also welcome but all you’ll win is satisfaction and maybe a little name recognition, if you want it. Again, e-mail James McRitchie.




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