United Therapeutics 2019 annual meeting is June 26th. To enhance long-term value: Vote AGAINST Causey, Giltner and Olian; pay, stock plan, auditor. Vote FOR Declassify the Board. Continue Reading →
Tag Archives | Corporate Governance
Alphabet 2019 annual meeting is June 19th. To enhance long-term value WITHHOLD vote from all directors. Vote AGAINST all Board proposals and FOR all shareholder proposals, especially #4 to recapitalize shares.
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Genomic Health 2019 annual meeting is June 13th. To enhance long-term value. Vote WITTHOLD all directors except Popovits & Parker; AGAINST Stock Plan, Pay, Auditor. Vote FOR Simple Majority Vote. Continue Reading →
Tesla 2019 annual meeting is June 11. Enhance long-term value. Vote AGAINST Ehrenpreis, Omnibus Stock Plan, Auditor. Vote FOR all other items. Continue Reading →
Netflix 2019 annual meeting June 6. Netflix has adopted the paternalistic culture of Mad Men, ignoring shareholders. To enhance long-term value, WITHHOLD vote from ALL directors. Vote AGAINST Pay & Auditor. Vote FOR Disclose Political Contributions & Adopt Simple Majority Vote. Continue Reading →
Cognizant 2019 annual meeting is June 4th. To enhance long-term value. Vote AGAINST Fox and Klein, pay & auditor. Vote FOR Political Disclosure and Independent Board Chair.
Alarm 2019 annual meeting is June 5th. To enhance long-term value. Vote AGAINST Auditor. Vote FOR all other items, including shareholder proposal to eliminate supermajority requirements.
Axon 2019 annual meeting is May 31st. To enhance long-term value. Vote AGAINST both director nominees, Pay, & Auditor. Vote FOR Declassify the Board and Remove Supermajority Requirements. Continue Reading →
Facebook 2019 annual May 30. Vote WITHHOLD ALL directors. AGAINST: Auditor, Pay, Proposals 8, 11, 12. FOR: Propoals 5, 6, 7, 9, 10. Vote Say-on-Pay frequency 1 year. If you vote nothing else, vote FOR #5. Continue Reading →
American Tower 2019 annual meeting – May 21st. Vote AGAINST Dolan, Reeve, Sharbutt, Taiclet. Exec Pay, & Auditor. Vote FOR Independent Director and Disclose Political Contributions. Continue Reading →
American Express 2019 annual meeting is May 7th. Vote by May 6 online. For optimum accountability and shareholder return vote AGAINST John Brennan, Peter Chernin, Stephen Squeri, Ralph de la Vega, Ronald Williams, the Auditor, Say-on-Pay. Vote FOR Written Consent, Deduct Impact of BuyBacks on Pay, Report on Gender Pay Gap.
The Paycom 2019 annual meeting is April 29th at 5300 Gaillardia Boulevard, Oklahoma City at 11:00 a.m. local time. Your last opportunity to vote online is April 28th. To increase corporate performance and shareholder value, WITHHOLD votes from Clark and Duques. Vote AGAINST pay; FOR auditor and FOR shareholder proposal to declassify the board.
Kellogg 2019 annual meeting is April 26th. Stock price fared poorly for the last five years, so the CEO should not be paid as if he had average performance. Vote AGAINST pay. The Compensation Committee should not be reelected, since they recommended average pay for below average performance. Vote AGAINST Laschinger and Tasted. Vote AGAINST ratifying the auditor. They have served for more than seven years, so independence is questionable. Vote FOR declassifying the board, so that we can hold each member accountable every year.
Discover 2019 Proxy Vote Recommendations. The Discover Financial Services (DFS) 2019 annual meeting is May 16th. To enhance long-term shareholder value, vote AGAINST directors Aronin, Case, and Weinbach, as well as the auditor. Vote FOR pay, end supermajority standards and shareholder proposal to allow shareholder of 15% to call a special meeting. ABSTAIN on the board proposal allowing shareholders with 25% to call a special meeting. Continue Reading →
Intuitive Surgical 2019 annual meeting is April 25th. Vote AGAINST (1F) Alan Levy and (1H) Mark Rubash. Vote FOR #5 Eliminate Supermajority Provisions.
The Northern Trust 2019 annual meeting is April 23rd. Vote AGAINST Bynoe, Richards, Slark, and Tribbett; AGAINST Executive Pay & Auditor: FOR Disclose Political Contributions and Right to Call a Special Meeting.
MBII elects directors by majority vote, effective March 15th 2019. Marrone Bio Innovations (MBII) amended its bylaws after a request by shareholder advocate James McRitchie and upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Governance Committee. The bylaws now provide that, in uncontested elections, MBII elects directors by majority vote of “For” and “Withheld” votes cast.
The board also amended MBII’s Corporate Governance Guidelines to provide that director nominee are to supply a conditional letter of resignation, effective if they fail to get a majority vote and the board accepts their resignation. I hope if the board fails to accept such a resignation, that would clearly be on a temporary basis. Continue Reading →
Walt Disney 2019 annual meeting is March 7, 2019. To enhance long-term shareholder value, vote AGAINST directors Barra, Lagomasino, Iger, as well as pay and the auditor. Vote FOR shareholder proposals to report on lobbying and cyber security. Continue Reading →
Berry Global Group 2019 annual meeting is March 6, 2019. To enhance long-term shareholder value, vote AGAINST Carl Rickertsen, Thomas Salmon and Scott Ullem, as well as auditor, pay and 25% threshold for special meetings. Vote FOR 1 year frequency for say on pay and for shareholder proposal to provide a 15% threshold for special meetings. Continue Reading →
The Apple 2019 annual meeting is March 1st. To enhance long-term shareholder value, vote AGAINST directors Levinson and Gore., as well as pay and the auditor. Vote FOR shareholder proposal #4 Proxy Access Amendments and against #5, which aims to set up an ideological litmus test for directors. [yasr_visitor_votes size=”small”][yasr_overall_rating size=”small”] Continue Reading →
Franklin Resources 2019 annual meeting is 2/12/2019. Shareholder rights are under attack. Vote AGAINST Barker, Johnson, Pigott, Stein, and Waugh, as well as the auditor. Most important, vote AGAINST the Board’s attempted Ratification of a Substitute Special Meeting Amendment. Shields up! Vote to protect shareholder rights and enhance long-term shareholder value. Continue Reading →
The Cisco Systems 2018 annual meeting is December 12th. To enhance long-term shareholder value, vote AGAINST directors Arway, Desroches, Grauer and Thiry, as well as pay and the auditor. Vote FOR shareholder proposals to split chair and CEO and to Deduct Impact of Stock Buybacks from Executive Pay. CorpGov.net is an independent source for information about shareholder rights by real Main Street Investors, not sock puppets. Continue Reading →
The Guidewire Software 2018 annual meeting is December 6th. Vote AGAINST ratifying the auditor and pay. Vote FOR our proposal to declassify the board to enhance long-term shareholder value. Continue Reading →
The FedEx 2018 annual meeting is September 24th. Vote AGAINST John A. Edwardson, Paul S. Walsh, Marvin R. Ellison, John C. (“Chris”) Inglis, Shirley Ann Jackson and Susan C. Schwabas, as well as the pay package. Vote FOR all three shareholder proposals. Continue Reading →
Netflix Approach to Governance: Genuine Transparency with the Board (download) by David F. Larcker and Brian Tayan takes a look at one aspect of corporate governance at Netflix and finds “a radically different approach to information sharing” by management with the Board. Shareholders are largely left out of the equation.
Netflix Approach to Governance: Management
Netflix Approach to Governance has the appearance of a balanced look at how management shares information with the Board. There is no suggestion the approach can be widely copied. Says Larker,
I think it would be hard to put this type of system in place at older and more mature organizations. Innovative organizations that want and need the insights from board members can clearly adapt this type of approach. You need a CEO who wants a high level of discussion about strategy, etc., and is open to alternative points of view.
Transparency works at Netflix, at least in part, because CEO Reed Hastings understands board members would not have the confidence to make tough calls unless they have a better understanding of the company.
Transparency is hard to argue against, unless it leads to directors leaking information that reaches competitors. Larcker and Tayan interviewed CEO Reed Hastings and most of the board members. They describe two key features of what they appear to believe is remmanagement transparency.
Board members attend monthly and quarterly senior management meetings as observers. Communications to the board take the shape of approximately 30-page memos that are heavy on analysis and contain links to all relevant data on the company’s internal computer systems. (Another Netflix Disruption: A Transparent Board)
More frequent meetings with senior staff and more information allows Netflix directors to work more effectively, since they are better able to assess strategic developments. It is hard to tell what impact transparency is having on the company but,
Netflix has been enormously successful over the last five years. Revenues have nearly tripled, increasing to $11.69 billion from $4.4 billion at the end of 2013, while the market cap soared to $133 billion from $4.4 billion.
Directors like the approach.
The overall tone Reed has set, really from early days, is around transparency. … There is no editorializing. There’s no censorship.
It’s just a deep desire to hear rational, well-argued pros and cons of any decision.
No censorship and frank discussions between management and board; if other companies are not operating that way, why not? Equally important, why does that approach not carry through to the relationship between shareholders and the board?
Netflix Approach to Governance: Shareholders
Their research, part of the informative Stanford Closer Look Series, begins with the following sentence:
The hallmark of good corporate governance is an independent-minded board of directors to oversee management and represent the interests of shareholders.
The only other significant reference to shareholders comes later in the following sentence:
While fiduciary rules allow directors to rely exclusively on information provided by management, dynamics such as these can reduce the quality of that information and impair their ability to make good decisions on behalf of shareholders.
Even through the law allows directors to rely on what the CEO and other senior executives tell them, directors make better decisions when the company is more transparent – when they can observe meetings further down the chain and have more direct access to company relevant data. Yet, the Netflix approach to governance appears one-sided. Transparency and dialogue are missing when it comes to management and shareholders.
As I pointed out in a recent post, Netflix has repeatedly ignored shareholder votes. (Will Netflix Ignore Stockholders Again?) While proxy proposals are generally precatory, most companies implement those receiving a majority vote and often those that do not. The Netflix approach to governance appears to ignore proxy votes whenever legally possible.
- In 2014 a majority voted to declassify the board and to require a majority vote to elect directors.
- In 2015 similar proposals were voted and won. A majority of shareholders also voted against director Barton, who, although he lost, was up for reelection this year.
- In 2016 a majority of shares were voted in favor of proxy access, reducing supermajority vote requirements, and declassifying the board.
- In 2017 a majority of shares were voted in favor of proxy access, to declassify the board, to require a majority vote for electing directors and to eliminate all supermajority voting requirements. As far as I know, none of those proposals were implemented by the Board.
- In 2018 a majority of shares were voted in favor of the following:
- Reduce Ownership Threshold for Shareholders to Call Special Meeting (57%)
- Adopt Proxy Access Right (58%)
- Provide Right to Act by Written Consent (52%)
- Adopt Simple Majority Vote (85%)
- Amend Bylaws (72%) This was a binding proposal to require directors in uncontested elections to be elected by a majority of shares voted
Given the Netflix approach to governance with regard to shareholders, I expect the only proposal that will be adopted from this year is the binding proposal to require a majority vote in uncontested directors elections. The vote in favor surpassed the bylaw requirement of a two-thirds threshold.
Although I do not question the scholarship of Larcker and Tayan, their discussion of the Netflix approach to governance would benefit from an examination of shareholder relations with the board. We hope that is on their agenda for a closer look.
Netflix Approach to Governance: Other Views
- Netflix Shareholders Again Fail to Change Rules to Elect Board Members by Simple Majority Vote
- Consider Director Conduct at the 2018 Netflix annual meeting when you vote regarding directors in 2019
- Netflix Rejects Claims That Exec Bonuses Hurt Shareholders
- Netflix investors, once again, seek change in proxy access, voting rules
The DaVita 2018 annual meeting is June 18. Vote AGAINST Arway, Desroches, Grauer and Thiry, as well as pay. Vote FOR proxy access amendments to enhance long-term shareholder value. Continue Reading →
Celgene 2018 meeting, 6/13. Vote AGAINST several directors; FOR proxy access & independent board chair to enhance long-term shareholder value. Informed voting in 10 minutes. Continue Reading →
The Progenics Pharmaceuticals 2018 annual meeting is June 13. Vote AGAINST Crowley and Kishbauch, the stock incentive plan and FOR proxy access amendments to enhance long-term shareholder value. Vote to make our great company even better. Continue Reading →
The Caterpillar 2018 annual meeting is June 13. Vote AGAINST the pay package and FOR the shareholder proposals to enhance long-term value. Your vote can help make a great company even better. Continue Reading →