Tag Archives | Equilar

Gender Quotas in California Boardrooms May Pave Way for Diversity

By August 31, 2018, California could become the first state in the nation with gender quotas to mandate publicly held companies that base their operations in the state to have women on their boards. The legislation—SB 826—will require public companies headquartered in California to have a minimum of one female on its board of directors by December 31, 2019. That minimum will be raised to at least two female board members for companies with five directors or at least three female board members for companies with six or more directors by December 31, 2021. Continue Reading →

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Starbucks Corp Proxy Voting Recommendation

Starbucks Corp (SBUX), operates as a roaster, marketer, and retailer of specialty coffee worldwide. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 70 pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

The annual meeting is coming up on March 21, 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 35% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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CLX: Vote Clorox Proxy Access

The Clorox Company, CLX, manufactures and markets consumer and professional products worldwide. It operates through four segments: Cleaning, Household, Lifestyle, and International. CLX opposes giving shareholders effective proxy access to enable us to place nominees on our company’s ballot. Shareholders have no right to act by written consent. It takes 25% of shareholders to call a special meeting and 80% to amend certain charter amendments. In short, shareholder rights are lacking. Without changes, CLX is likely to continue to lag the S&P 500, as it has done for the last one, two and five year time periods.

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Are We Paying CEOs Too Much?

Are we paying CEOs too much? Is the Pope Catholic? (That’s my own bad joke, not from the panelists.)

Executive compensation is front and center on the minds of shareholders, regulators—and politicians. What IS pay? What IS performance? What are the right time frames for measuring performance? And what to do about the perception that pay is not tied to performance?

I was less interested in our “perception” that pay is not tied to performance and more interested in the reality, where such discrepancies exist.

Are We Paying CEOs Too Much?

Are We Paying CEOs Too Much?

Are We Paying CEOs Too Much? is Part 5 of my coverage of the Corporate Directors Forum 2017 in San Diego @corpdirforum, which was billed as Directors, Management, & Shareholders in Dialogue. I was also hoping to learn more about President Donald J. Trump and how his administration might impact corporate governance. More about that in a future post. See Part I, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4. As usual, the Directors Forum was under Chatham House Rule, so I’m mostly just posting a few observations and my reflections that I hope readers will find interesting.Much better photos from the professional photographer at Directors Forum 2017 Photo Slide Show Continue Reading →

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Walt Disney Company: Proxy Score 25

Walt Disney Company

Walt Disney Company: before you vote your proxy

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), together with its subsidiaries, operates as an entertainment company worldwide.

The Walt Disney Company 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 March 8, 2017.

I voted FOR Proxy Access Amendments. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations only 25% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Apple (AAPL) Proxy Access: Proxy Score 44

AAPL logoApple Inc. (NASD:AAPL) designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players to consumers, small and mid-sized businesses, and education, enterprise, and government customers worldwide.

AAPL is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on February 28th, 2017.  

I voted FOR Proxy Access Amendments. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 44% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Proxy Statements Increase Disclosures

Proxy Statements Disclosing Engagement

Nearly half of S&P 100 companies included information in their proxy statements that showed how they responded to shareholder concerns and made changes to policies, according to a new report from Equilar, Innovations in Proxy Design, featuring commentary from Donnelley Financial Solutions and Pay Governance.

In 2012, just 14.3% of the S&P 100 included disclosures in their proxy statements on how they modified their practices after engaging shareholders, a figure that increased to 42.0% in 2016.

Disclosing Modifications

Disclosing Modifications in Proxy Statements

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Whole Foods Proxy Access: Proxy Score 82

Whole Foods Proxy Access - Give Us the Key

Whole Foods Proxy Access – Give Us the Key (cartoon from Pensions & Investments)

Whole Foods Proxy Access, we have another chance to vote to make proxy access real before the annual meeting on February 17.

Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASD:WFM) is a retailer of natural and organic foods and is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted.  Whole Foods Market (WFM)

I voted FOR Whole Foods Proxy Access and the report on Food Waste; AGAINST director Jonathan Sokoloff because of his poor attendance record. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 82% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Equilar GDI: Board Gender Parity 2055

Equilar GDI - gender parityThe new Equilar GDI (Gender Diversity Index) found it will take nearly 40 years for Russell 3000 boards of directors to reach gender parity. If the current rate of growth remains the same, Russell 3000 boards would reach 50% male and 50% female representation in Q4 2055.

Diversity Forum

I urge readers 5/10 join CalPERS & CalSTRS at this year’s Diversity Forum, an all-day event in Sacramento. We do not have to wait for 2055 to obtain gender parity. Join us to learn strategies that should move us forward at a substantially quicker pace. MoDiversity Forum 2017re information:

Equilar GDI: Research

The Equilar GDI is an index that measures 50% representation of both males and females on Russell 3000 boards as “1.” As of December 31, 2016, Russell 3000 boards were at 0.30 on the index, nearly one-third of the way toward parity. The data reflects that 15.1% of board seats at Russell 3000 companies were occupied by women as of year end. This represented an increase from 13.9% at the same point in 2015, which was up from 13.2% in 2014.  Continue Reading →

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United Natural Foods Inc: Proxy Score 55

United Natural Foods IncUnited Natural Foods Inc (UNFI) is a distributor and retailer of natural, organic and specialty products. The Wholesale segment is engaged in the national distribution of natural, organic and specialty foods, produce and related products in the United States and Canada. The Other segment includes a retail division, which engages in the sale of natural foods and related products to the general public through retail storefronts on the east coast of the United States; a manufacturing division, which engages in importing, roasting and packaging of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and snack items, and its branded product lines. Its operations consist of three operating divisions: Wholesale Division, Retail Division, and Manufacturing and Branded Products divisions. The Company offers 100,000 natural, organic and specialty foods, and non-food products, consisting of national, regional and private-label brands.

Their annual meeting is coming up on December 15, 2016. Can’t make it to Providence, RI? Attend virtually, using the dedicated 16-digit access proxy control number included in your proxy materials.  ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of 1 fund families when I checked. I voted FOR proxy access; AGAINST pay and compensation committee. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 55% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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Microsoft (MSFT): Proxy Score 56

MSFTMicrosoft Corporation (MSFT), operates a technology company, develops, licenses, and supports software products, services, and devices worldwide.

MSFT’s annual meeting is coming up on November 30, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of 3 fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, pay committee, stock plan. Vote FOR all other proxy items, especially my proposed amendments to proxy access to increase the ability of shareholders to group together to nominate directors.  I voted with the Board’s recommendations 56% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Reed’s Inc: Proxy Score 55

Reeds IncReed’s Inc. (REED), develops, manufactures, markets and sells fantastic natural non-alcoholic carbonated soft drinks and other confectionaries, such as Reed’s Ginger Brews; Virgil’s Root Beer, Cream Sodas, Dr. Better and Real Cola, including ZERO diet sodas; Culture Club Kombucha; China Colas; Reed’s Ginger candy and ice creams, and Sonoma Sparkler and other juice based products.

Their annual meeting is coming up on November 29, 2016. Unfortunately, the company is too small for ProxyDemocracy.org to follow, so no help there. However, I have been heavily involved with the Committee to Rescue Reed’s, so am intimately familiar with many of the issues. Vote FOR proxy access, split chair/CEO, forcing zombie directors to resign, all new board nominees and pay. Vote AGAINST Christopher J. Reed,  Auditor, and Repricing options. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 55% of the time. View Proxy Statement; again, the company to small to pull up proxy via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Clorox Company: Proxy Score 93

Clorox Company

Clorox Company

Clorox Company (CLX), operates through four segments:

  1. Cleaning – laundry, home care and professional products.
  2. Household – charcoal, cat litter and plastic bags, wraps and container products.
  3. Lifestyle – food products, water-filtration systems and filters, and natural personal care products.
  4. International many of the same consumer brands. 

Their annual meeting is coming up on November 16, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of 2 fund families when I checked. Vote FOR reducing the threshold to call a special meeting and all other items on the proxy. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 93% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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3D Moves to Equilar – Diversity Benefits

3D Joins Equilar Diversity Network

3D Joins Equilar Diversity Network

3D Moves to Equilar. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today announced the Diverse Director DataSource (3D) will now be available through the Equilar Diversity Network.

The new partnership marks an exciting milestone for the 3D, a database the two pension funds jointly developed in 2011. 3D was designed to make it easy for companies to find untapped talent to serve as directors on corporate boards. 3D joins the suite of searchable sources on Equilar, further simplifying companies’ and candidates’ ability to build and be a part of diverse corporate boards. MSCI ESG Research previously hosted the database.

Launching 3D on Equilar’s Diversity Network showcases the depth and availability of qualified, diverse directors. The Diversity Network is designed to connect candidates from various diversity organizations with boards. Continue Reading →

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FedEx (FDX): Proxy Score 44

FDXFedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) provides transportation, e-commerce, and business services in the United States and internationally. Their annual meeting is coming up on September 26, 2016. Last day to vote is the 25th, unless you attend the meeting.

ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee; FOR all shareholder proposals. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 44% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. I’m on vacation, so sorry for the late and somewhat abbreviated post. Continue Reading →

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CEO Pay Ratios: Do Employees Care?

CEO Pay Ratios - Larges GapsCEO Pay Ratios: Mandated Reporting Approaches

Starting fiscal years beginning in January, companies must disclose CEO pay ratios to the median compensation of their employees. Companies have flexibility with regard to sampling and other methodologies, according to how the SEC has interpreted the Dodd-Frank Act. In preparation, PayScale and Equilar surveyed employee sentiment on CEO pay ratios.

CEO Pay Ratios: Employees Surveyed

Do employees know what their CEO earns? If so, do they think it’s fair? If they believe it’s not fair, does it negatively affect their perception of their employer? And, finally, does CEO pay have any effect on the ability of a company to retain its employees? Additionally, they asked some CEOs to weigh in with their thoughts on the SEC rule and their approach to employee communication as it pertains to executive pay.

Equilar provided pay data for some of the the highest-paid CEOs in the U.S. and PayScale provided median worker pay data for those same companies. They then calculated the CEO pay ratios between the CEO at each company and their employees. Many CEOs do receive substantial stock/option grants and perks as part of their compensation, but the firms don’t currently have similar data available for employees, so they looked solely at cash compensation to calculate ratios for this report. However, they did provide the Equilar data on Total CEO Pay as well, so that it’s clear how much of each CEO’s pay is in the form of cash vs. stock/options/perks. Continue Reading →

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Ocata Therapeutics: How I Voted – Proxy Score 37

Ocata TherapeuticsOcata Therapeutics Inc (NASD:OCAT), formerly Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. is a promising biotechnology company engaged in the development and commercialization of human pluripotent stem cell technology in the field of regenerative medicine. The company is one of the stocks in my portfolio, purchased about a year ago. Their next annual meeting is July 22, 2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had nothing on the company when I checked and voted on 7/16/2015. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 37.5% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 37.5.

View Proxy Statement. Would it bust their budget to add a hyperlinked table of contents? Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Ocata Therapeutics proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value.   Continue Reading →

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Berry Plastics Group: Proxy Score 33

Berry Plastics logoBerry Plastics Group Inc. (BERY), which manufactures and distributes plastic consumer packaging and engineered materials in North America and internationally, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 3/4/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had the votes of only one fund when I checked and voted on 3/1/2015. However, I was able to find the votes of CalSTRS. I voted with management 33% of the time, so assigned them a proxy score of 33.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Berry Plastics Group 2015 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Guidewire Software (GWRE) – Proxy Score 33

GuidewireGuidewire Software Inc ($GWRE), which provides software products for property and casualty insurers, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 12/4/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 12/1/2014. Sorry for the late post. Tomorrow is the last day to vote online. I voted with management 33% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 33.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Guidewire Software 2014 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) – Proxy Score 62

MicrosoftMicrosoft Corporation ($MSFT), which develops, licenses, markets, and supports software, services, and devices worldwide, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 12/3/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of six funds when I checked and voted on 11/30/2014. Sorry for the late post. Tomorrow is the last day to vote online. I voted with management 62% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 62.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Microsoft 2014 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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CEO Pay: Link to the Cost and Future Value of Capital

IRRCi study on CEO PayTotal shareholder return (TSR), is the most frequent metric used to pay CEOs for performance. The authors of this excellent study from IRRCi believe CEO pay should, instead, be linked to the cost and future value of capital.

CEO Pay for ‘Performance”

In 1993, Congress amended the tax code to tie executive pay to “performance” metrics. To be a deductible business expense, pay had to be linked to performance. Stock price was an easy proxy for performance and the link was acceptable to the IRS. Before the amendment, in 1991, average CEO pay at large public firms was 140 times that of average employees. By 2003, it was approximately 500 times. Whereas equity-based compensation at such firms was zero percent in 1984, it climbed to 66% by 2001. The percentage of CEO pay from stock option grants rose from 35% in 1994, to 85% by 2001.

As the authors point out, “total shareholder return is, by far, the most dominant performance metric in long-term incentive plans.” Yet, increased TSR often has little to do with actually growing a business for the long-term. The rise of fall in stock price generally has little to do with CEO effort. When there is effort involved, rewards come quicker through cost-cutting (firing employees, reducing R&D), stock buybacks or financial engineering than by developing new products, training staff or increasing sales. Continue Reading →

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Medivation (MDVN): Proxy Vote – Score 91

MedivationMedivation $MDVN, a promising biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies to treat serious diseases, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their next annual meeting is June 27, 2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked and voted on 6/17/2014. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 91% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 91. View Proxy Statement. Would it bust their budget to add a hyperlinked table of contents? Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the MDVN proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value.   Continue Reading →

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Apple Inc. (AAPL): How I Voted – Proxy Score 89

silver-apple-logo-apple-pictureStockUnderValueExtraxtionApple Inc. (NASD:AAPL) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 2/28/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org was down for maintenance when I checked and voted on 2/19/2014, so no voting advice there. I checked a few other sources such as CalPERS, Florida SBA and OTPP but none had disclosed their votes on their sites as of yesterday. I voted with 89% of the Board’s recommendations. View Apple’s Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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United Natural Foods (UNFI): How I Voted – Proxy Score 75

unfi-logoUnited Natural Foods, Inc. $UNFI is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 12/18/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted on 12/11/2013.  I voted with management 75% of the time.  View Proxy Statement.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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Ellie Mae Inc $ELLI: Proxy Score 40

Ellie Mae Inc (ELLI) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/29/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked on 5/19/2013.  I voted with management 40% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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Walgreens (WAG): How I Voted – Proxy Score 24

Walgreens ($WAG) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 1/9/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I voted on 1/1/2012.  I voted with management only 24% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Don’t Let Companies Change Shareholders’ Blank Votes)

I generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions where Continue Reading →

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Broadridge ($BR): How I Voted – Proxy Score 50%

Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. ($BR) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/15/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I voted on 11/8/2012.  I voted with management 50% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Don’t Let Companies Change Shareholders’ Blank Votes) Continue Reading →

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Hain Celestial ($HAIN): How I Voted – Proxy Score 8%

Hain Celestial Group ($HAIN) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/15/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I voted on 11/8/2012.  I voted with management 8% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Don’t Let Companies Change Shareholders’ Blank Votes) Continue Reading →

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Cisco: How I Voted – Proxy Score 83%

Cisco ($CSCO) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/15/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of five funds when I voted on 11/8/2012.  I voted with management 83% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Don’t Let Companies Change Shareholders’ Blank Votes) Continue Reading →

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