Author Archive | James McRitchie

Hybrid Listed Cooperatives

Hybrid Listed Cooperatives

Hybrid Listed Cooperatives attempt to consider more stakeholders

Innovations in Cooperative Ownership: Converted and Hybrid Listed Cooperatives (Link), by O.F. van Bekkum and J. Bijman, is one of the more interesting research papers I have read since our proposal for Twitter (TWTR) to study cooperatives won 5% of the vote, making it eligible for resubmission for the 2018 annual meeting. Before we redo the proposal (and perhaps expand its use to other companies), I want to examine the available research. If you lean of other studies, please let me know. For background on the 2017 proposal at Twitter and alternatives, see the following: Continue Reading →

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MBII Annual Meeting Gone Missing

MBII, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., was added to the Russell Microcap Index after the market closed on June 23, 2017. Hopefully, that will provide some needed stability to this volatile stock, so it is great news. However, corporate governance concerns remain. For example, when will our company hold the 2017 annual meeting?

MBII Has Plenty of Positives

According to Dr. Pamela Marrone, Founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations,

We are very pleased to have joined the Russell Microcap Index. This is an important milestone for Marrone Bio Innovations and represents an opportunity to increase our visibility within the public market investment community.

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Alphabet Shareholders Overwhelmingly Support Equal Voting

Alphabet DemocracyAt Alphabet, Inc.’s most recent annual meeting on June 7, 2017, class A shareholders overwhelmingly supported a shareholder proposal asking company management to recapitalize the share structure so that each share has one vote. According to the proponents of the proposal, assuming that all outstanding class B shares were similarly voted, then up to 99.8% of class A shareholders supported the proposal. Of class B insider shares, if only executive officers and directors of the company are counted, then an estimated 88.7% of class A shareholders still supported this proposal. Continue Reading →

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Capitalists Arise!: Serve Stakeholders

Peter Georgescu

Peter Georgescu

Peter Georgescu’s Capitalists Arise!: End Economic Inequality, Grow the Middle Class, Heal the Nation correctly identifies short-termism and a focus on stock price as a problem contributing to growing wealth inequality. His solutions depend on enlightened managers and boards to transform how America does business by taking all stakeholders into account, not just shareholders. I say, don’t count on enlightened self-interest by those now in control. They are unlikely to overturn the system that benefits them.

Transformation is not likely to come from those in power, even if it would be to the advantage of all. Transformation must be demanded from below. Any transformation system that purports to consider all stakeholders must effectively redistribute power. We cannot depend on benevolent dictatorships like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Alphabet’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page to act as if all stakeholders matter. To get where Georgescu correctly wants to go, there must be a real shift in power. Continue Reading →

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RBI to Curb Antibiotics in Chicken

RBI burger king logoRestaurant Brands International (RBI), parent of Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes,  announced its decision to purchase only chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine by the end of 2018, a major sustainability milestone for the world’s third-largest fast food restaurant operator.

RBI came to an agreement in March 2016 with As You Sow,a non-profit shareholder advocacy group, to set timelines to prohibit the use of medically important antibiotics in its global meat and poultry supply chains. In response to this commitment, As You Sow withdrew a shareholder resolution calling for reduced antibiotic use in the Company’s products. Continue Reading →

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What Ought to Be: Why Grow Up?

Why Grow Up? between what is and what ought to be

Why Grow Up? between what is and what ought to be

According to Susan Neiman, the most important distinction in the world is the difference between what is and what ought to be. Recognizing that distinction is central to the process of growing up. (Why Grow Up?: Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age)

You need not be Peter Pan to feel uneasy about the prospect of becoming adult. Indeed, it’s easy to argue that Peter Pan, most drastically imitated by Michael Jackson, is an emblem of our times. Being grown-up is widely considered to be a matter of renouncing your hopes and dreams, accepting the limits of the reality you are given, and resigning yourself to a life that will be less adventurous, worthwhile and significant than you supposed when you began it.

However, life doesn’t have to be less adventurous if you never give up on creating what ought to be. We all have an opportunity to change our culture, if only in small increments. Too many people are sleepwalking through life, thinking what is given can not be changed. Of course, it helps to know where we are and how we got there to understand what changes are possible or most likely. Continue Reading →

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Kite Pharma Proxy Voting Guide

Kite PharmaKite Pharma, Inc. (KITE), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the development and commercialization of novel cancer immunotherapy products. Kite is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of no fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 20th, 2017.

I voted FOR Proposal #3 to Declassify the Board. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 43% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Genomic Health Proxy Voting Guide

Genomic Health proxy 2017Genomic Health Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. Genomic Health (GHDX), a healthcare company, provides actionable genomic information to personalize cancer treatment decisions in the United States and internationally. It develops and commercializes genomic-based clinical laboratory services that analyze the underlying biology of cancer, allowing physicians and patients to make individualized treatment decisions.  Genomic Health is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of no fund family when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 15, 2017.

I voted FOR #5 proxy access, proposed by me. See how and why I voted this and other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 62% of the time. View proxy via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Caterpillar Inc Proxy Voting Guide

Caterpillar Inc Proxy Statement

Caterpillar Inc Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net

Sorry, this Caterpillar Inc Proxy Voting Guide comes late, since tomorrow is the last day to vote unless you attend the annual meeting. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives for heavy and general construction, rental, quarry, aggregate, mining, waste, material handling, oil and gas, power generation, marine, rail, and industrial markets. Caterpillar is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked and voted on the last day. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 14, 2017.

I voted FOR our proposal to reduce the threshold required to hold a special meeting. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 70% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Columbia Sportswear Proxy Voting Guide

Columbia Sportswear (COLM) designs, sources, markets, and distributes outdoor and active lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment in the United States, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Canada.

Columbia Sportswear Proxy Voting Guide

3 PM Pacific June 13, 2017, 14229 NW Science Park Dr., Portland

Columbia Sportswear is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund family when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 13, 2017.

I voted FOR a shareholder right to Proxy Access. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 50% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Alphabet: Another Democracy Vote

Alphabet Democracy

Alphabet’s Corporate Governance

At the June 7 annual shareholder meeting of Alphabet, shareholders will vote for a sixth year in a row to weigh in on tech-giant Alphabet’s unequal voting structure. Today is the last day to vote without attending the meeting tomorrow.

Shareholders are expected to vote in favor of the Recapitalization Plan for all Stock to Have One-vote per Share the but winning depends on getting far more than a majority vote. It means those holding shares with out-sized votes being willing to yield their power. What will make them see the value of more democratic corporate governance? The election is more symbolism than real. Still, symbolism can be powerful. Continue Reading →

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SciClone Pharmaceuticals Proxy Voting Guide

SciClone Pharmaceuticals Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. SciClone Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (SCLN), a specialty pharmaceutical company, provides therapies for oncology, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular disorders in the People’s Republic of China, the United States. SciClone Pharmaceuticals is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of no fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 8, 2017.SciClone Pharmaceuticals

SciClone PharmaceuticalsI voted FOR #5 proxy access, proposed by me, James McRitchie. See how and why I voted this and other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 80% of the time. View proxy via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A).

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Salesforce.com Proxy Voting Guide

Salesforce Proxy Voting Guide

Salesforce Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net

Salesforce.com, inc. develops enterprise cloud computing solutions with a focus on customer relationship management.  Salesforce.com, inc. (CRM) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 6, 2017

I voted FOR #7 the ability of shareholders to call a special meeting. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 59% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Cognizant Technology Solutions Proxy Voting Guide

Cognizant Technology Solutions Proxy Voting Guide

Cognizant Technology Solutions Proxy Voting Guide

Cognizant Technology Solutions Proxy Voting Guide by James McRitchie of CorpGov.net. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTSH) provides information technology (IT), operations and technology consulting, infrastructure, and business process services worldwide. The firm is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 6, 2017

I voted FOR James McRitchie’s shareholder proposal to provide a shareholder’s right to act by written consent. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 76% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Netgear Proxy Voting Guide – NTGR

Netgear Proxy Voting Guide

Netgear Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net

Netgear Proxy Voting Guide by James McRitchie of CorpGov.net. NETGEAR, Inc. (NTGR) designs, develops, and markets innovative networking solutions and smart connected products for consumers, businesses, and service providers. NTGR one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund family when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 1, 2017.Netgear Proxy Voting Guide

I voted FOR James McRitchie’s shareholder proposal to provide a right to special meeting for shareholders with 15% of the common voting stock. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 64% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Facebook Proxy Voting Guide

Facebook Proxy Voting GuideFacebook Proxy Voting Guide by James McRitchie of CorpGov.net. Facebook, Inc. provides various products to connect and share through mobile devices, personal computers, and other surfaces worldwide. Facebook is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 1, 2017.

I voted AGAINST the Board’s recommendations 100% of the time. Until all stock has equal voting weight (vote FOR #3 to cure), Facebook will remain essentially a dictatorship. Facebook is in the sharing business. How about sharing some of that enormous power with shareholders, users and employees? As a democratic-free zone, Facebook faces a potential backlash, especially if other options become available. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Williams-Sonoma Proxy Voting Guide

Williams-Sonoma 2017 proxyWilliams-Sonoma Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM) operates as a multi-channel specialty retailer of various products for home.  Williams-Sonoma  is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund family when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 31, 2017.

I voted AGAINST #5 lite proxy access, FOR #6 real proxy access, proposed by me. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 57% of the time. View proxy via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Exit to Democratic Ownership: Draft Presentation

Exit to Democratic Ownership

Exit to Democratic Ownership

Exit to Democratic Ownership; here is a preview of my presentation to the annual meeting of Twitter shareholders, to be held on May 22, 2017, at 1355 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94103. The meeting starts at 10 AM. Bring photo ID. 

I am James McRitchie, speaking in favor of proposal #4, Exit to Democratic Ownership, co-filed with Steffen Sauerteig of Germany on behalf of thousands of users around the world as a part of BuyTwitter.org and #WeAreTwitter. Shareholders or members of the press interested in contacting me after this meeting, can email  [email protected]

We are part of a world-wide movement to save Twitter from losing sight of its mission and being turned into another democratic-free zone.

Twitter’s stated mission is

To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

That mission is very connected to democracy. Twitter is spreading First Amendment rights around the world. Access to information and the exercise of free speech are key to government and an Internet “by and for the people.” Continue Reading →

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CalPERS Muzzles Critics: Michael Flaherman Runs

CalPERS Muzzles Critics

CalPERS Muzzles Critics

CalPERS muzzles critics. The following editorial appeared in the Sacramento Bee on May 25, 1999. The editorial references a “technical violation of board rules” by then Chairman William Crist. Actually, it was a clear violation of the rules, which prohibited changes to candidate statement after submission. No candidate in the history of CalPERS had ever been allowed to change anything in their statement, not even correct small grammatical errors. With the permission of staff, Mr. Crist was allowed to change his statement to address ethical concerns about him that I had raised in my statement. The election was not overturned because CalPERS rules required proof the results of an illegally conducted election would have been different had the rules not been violated. Proof might be obtained in a case of ballot stuffing but not candidate statement rewriting. How can you prove results would have been different in a fair election?

Addendum to CalPERS muzzles critics. Two of those later named in a bribery scandal also voted to muzzle candidates. (As bribery case continues, CalPERS reaps profits from tainted investments, Sacramento Bee, July 24, 2014.) The growing corruption I alluded to in my campaign was real. 

Now I am delighted to learn Michael Flaherman, the only CalPERS director elected by members who stood against the effort by the CalPERS Board to muzzle critics, is running in the upcoming election. See Critic of Wall Street Fees to Leave Calpers Board and my comments in the May 19, 2017 WSJ. If elected, Flaherman will be independent and effective. He has my endorsement, without reservation. Continue Reading →

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Co-ops, Twitter, Democracy: Coalition Letter

Co-ops Twitter & Democracy

Co-ops Twitter & Democracy

The following is a coalition letter on Twitter, Co-ops and Democracy — specifically on our proxy proposal #4 Exit to Democratic Ownership. Take Action: vote before midnight Sunday (San Francisco time) by phone or electronic proxy OR vote on Monday at the Twitter annual meeting in San Francisco.

This is part of the #WeAreTwitter movement, well documented at BuyTwitter.org. I’m pasting the letter below and related links below that. Thanks to all who signed our letter. If the campaign continues at the annual meeting in 2018, I’m sure signatories will at least double.


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Chipotle Proxy Voting Guide

Chipotle Proxy Voting GuideChipotle Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG), together with its subsidiaries, develops and operates Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants. As of December 31, 2016, the company operated 2,198 Chipotle restaurants throughout the United States, as well as 29 international Chipotle restaurants; and 23 restaurants with non-Chipotle concepts. Chipotle  is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 25, 2017. Chipotle Mexican Grill

I voted FOR #5 lower Special Meeting threshold from 25% to 15% of shares. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 58% of the time. View proxy via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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PayPal Proxy Voting Guide

PayPal Proxy Voting GuidePayPal Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL) operates as a technology platform company that enables digital and mobile payments on behalf of consumers and merchants worldwide. PayPal is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 24, 2017.PayPal

I voted FOR #5 Provide Right to Act by Written Consent and two shareholder proposals seeking reports. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 40% of the time. View proxy via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Twitter Proxy Voting Guide

Twitter Proxy Voting Guide

Twitter Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net

Twitter Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. Twitter, Inc. operates as a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. The company offers various products and services, including Twitter that allows users to create, distribute, and discover content; and Periscope, a mobile application that enables user to broadcast and watch video live with others. Twitter is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 22, 2017. I will be in attendance, presenting our proposal to study cooperatives, so stop by and say hello.

Of course I voted FOR our proposal entitled Exit to Democratic Ownership, filed in conjunction with BuyTwitter.org. Add to the collective intelligence by tweeting #WeAreTwitter. Follow @BuyThisPlatform. See how and why I voted this and other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 43% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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California Diversity Forum 2017: Part 2

CalPERS and CalSTRS sponsored the California Diversity Forum in Sacramento (“America’s Most Diverse City”) on Wednesday, May 12, 2017, bringing together investment and corporate executives to discuss how to better capitalize on the abilities of the diverse modern workforce. Diversity is both morally right and profitable. Narrowing the global gender gap would add $12 trillion in annual gross domestic product to global growth (McKinsey Global Institute).

What follows are my cryptic notes from the Diversity Forum. Sometimes they are just phrases I captured that may not mean so much out of context. Maybe it will be just enough to mark your calendar for next year’s Forum. More coverage at Part 1 and on Twitter at #CADiversityForum. I loved the fact that for once, I didn’t have to travel thousands of mile. Nice to have such an event in my own hometown.

Diversity Forum: The Corporate Perspective

Yee, Parcella, Chiames, Hymes

Betty Yee, Babriela Parcella, Paul Chiames, and Victor Hymes

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EllieMae Proxy Voting Guide: CorpGov.net

EllieMae 2017 MtgEllieMae, Inc. (ELLI) provides on-demand software solutions and services for the residential mortgage industry in the United States. EllieMae is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund family when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 17, 2017, so vote now.

I voted FOR #4 to declassify the board. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations % of the time. View proxy via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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California Diversity Forum 2017: Part 1

CalPERS and CalSTRS sponsored a diversity forum in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 12, 2017.  The goal of the Diversity Forum was to bring together investment and corporate executives to discuss how to better capitalize on the abilities of the diverse modern workforce. While I think diversity should be adopted simply because it is morally right, often economics speaks volumes in the finance community. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that narrowing the global gender gap could add US $12 trillion in annual gross domestic product to global growth.


The Forum focused on:

  • Recent research
  • Developing and implementing positive, solutions-oriented initiatives and real world best practices
  • Insight and experience of industry leaders

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Global Stewardship at Work: CalSTRS

Global Stewardship at Work report Issued by CalSTRS

Global Stewardship at Work report Issued by CalSTRS

The Global Stewardship at Work report, its 2015—16 sustainability report. was released by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). This is the third year the system published the report, which is based on the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines.

In 2015, CalSTRS became the first U.S. public pension plan to issue a sustainability report that met the GRI guidelines. And this year, CalSTRS continues to report sustainability-focused disclosures that adhere to the GRI performance metrics. The Global Stewardship at Work report also features detailed reporting of material topics that were prioritized based on feedback from stakeholder surveys, including responses from CalSTRS members, employees, special interest groups, and industry/business partners. Continue Reading →

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Town Hall Meetings: Financial CHOICE Act

Town Hall Meetings on the Financial Choice Act

Town Hall Meetings on the Financial Choice Act

Town Hall Meetings on the Financial Choice Act are right now the most urgent defense line to protect shareholder rights. As you are aware, the Financial CHOICE Act (which threatens to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Shareholder Proposal Rule) has been referred to the full House of Representatives for a vote as early as next week.  Congressional Representatives are on recess, and are expected to hold town halls or office hours this week. Clearly, time is of the essence. Background: Continue Reading →

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