Tag Archives | Kenneth Steiner

SEC Shareholder Proposal Panel – Take Action!

The November 15 SEC Roundtable on the Proxy Process will include me on the SEC Shareholder Proposal Panel. Public announcement with instructions for submitting comments. I will only have a few minutes at the Roundtable. What should I emphasize? Where should I stay in DC?

Take Action: Readers of CorpGov.net know far more than I do. Please email your suggestions and supporting evidence. Without your help, I will ramble off topic to connected tangents, difficult to explain in a few seconds. This post is sure to be an example. Continue Reading →

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Shareholder Collaboration

Shareholder Collaboration is a new ECGI working paper by Jill Fisch and Simone M. Sepe. Fisch is one of my favorite researchers, being insightful and less predictable than many of those in the primary academic hubs of corporate governance (Harvard, Stanford, and Delaware). In Shareholder Collaboration, the authors discuss the growing importance of a collaborative model, in contrast to models based on management power or shareholder power. (download paper in pdf) Continue Reading →

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William Steiner, Shareholder Activist

William Steiner recently became the most experienced shareholder activist alive to win majority votes for shareholder proposals at public companies. A few months ago, he celebrated 40 years of shareholder activism with an overwhelming victory at Haemonetics Corporation (HAE). The following is based on an interview with Mr. Steiner by his son, Kenneth Steiner, who works with his father to carry on what has become a family legacy. Continue Reading →

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International Business Machines: Proxy Score 21

International Business MachinesInternational Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM, $IBM) provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on April 26, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked. I voted AGAINST the pay plan, and most of the directors. I voted FOR the report on lobbying, written consent, split CEO/Board Chair positions – voting with the Board’s recommendations 21% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

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ExxonMobil – Shareholders Offer 4 Options

Exxon MobilI don’t own ExxonMobil $XOM stock or the stock of any other oil companies, so won’t be examining their proxy when it comes out or making voting recommendations. However, oil companies do remain a potent economic force and won’t be going away anytime soon… even though folks like me hope to be driving around in electric cars fueled by the sun and wind within a few years.

ExxonMobil may be a special case, since they appear to have essentially funded a disinformation campaign on climate change for many years.  See Exxon Knew, among many other sources and campaigns. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at shareholder proposals grappling with the beast. If you own stock in ExxonMobil and want to be a responsible fiduciary, how do you get them to take climate change seriously?

Since the proxy hasn’t been published, I don’t know what proposals will be included. However, ExxonMobil requested four no-action letters from the SEC that were refused. Let’s look at those.  Continue Reading →

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Who Withdraws Shareholder Proposals?

Withdraws Shareholder Proposals

Withdraws Shareholder Proposals

Who Withdraws Shareholder Proposals and Does It Matter? An Analysis of Sponsor Identity and Pay Practices is the title of an import study in the November 2015 issue of Corporate Governance: An International Review. Examination of this topic is long overdue. Companies constantly take full credit for corporate governance reforms, such as the addition of proxy access bylaws, when they are doing so only to avoid a vote on a more robust shareholder proposal. Continue Reading →

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Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD): Proxy Score 43

Brocade CommunicationsBrocade Communications Systems, Inc. (BRCD), which provides storage area networking (SAN) and Internet protocol networking solutions, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/7/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 4/2/2015.  I voted with management 43% of the time and assigned Brocade Communications a proxy score of 43. Publishers note: Elizabeth Chang, my administrative assistant, will be posting several of my votes for upcoming meetings.

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

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American Express (AXP): How I Voted – Proxy Score 47

               American Express Company $AXP is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is on 5/12/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked and voted on 5/4/2014.  I voted with management 47% of the time.  View AXP’s Proxy Statement, which is user friendly. My recommendations on how to vote the AXP proxy follows.

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

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International Business Machines Corp. (IBM): How I Voted – Proxy Score 75

IBMInternational Business Machines Corp. $IBM, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/29/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted on 4/22/2014.  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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Citigroup Inc (C): How I Voted – Proxy Score 33

citigroupCitigroup Inc $C, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/22/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of no funds when I checked and voted on 4/15/2014.  I voted with management 33% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Why an index with no links? That seems so basic. Perhaps Citi doesn’t want to make reading the proxy easy? Continue Reading →

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Microsoft (MSFT): How I Voted – Proxy Score 92%

Microsoft ($MSFT) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/28/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of six funds when I voted on 11/16/2012.  (The Table below doesn’t include the votes of Trillium.) I voted with management 92% 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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ISS Should Reconsider Their Analysis of H&R Block Proxy Access Proposal

The influential proxy analyst, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), recommends voting against Kenneth Steiner’s proxy access proposal at H&R Block (HRB) on 9/13 because it “could undermine the efforts of larger, long-term shareholders whose interests might better reflect those of the broader shareholder base.” Their logic appears flawed. Larger, longer-term shareowners would gain rights, not lose them, under the proposal. CBIS changed their vote after reading this post and talking to me (see ProxyDemocracy.org). Will your fund do the same? Continue Reading →

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Proxy Access: Two Proposals Filed, More USPX Members Needed

The first USPX type proxy access proposal was submitted by Kenneth Steiner (with help from John Chevedden and other members of USPX), which went to MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (WFR) on 11/11/2011. Here’s the Whereas portion (the rest is the same as the standard USPX proposal).

WHEREAS, Most long-term shareowners have no reasonable means to make board nominations; this is a standard “proxy access” proposal, as described in http://proxyexchange.org/standard_003.pdf and according to independent research by GMI dated 11/3/2011, more than half of active board members hold no shares in our company. They awarded our CEO options worth over $14 million in 2009 without performance-contingent criteria. They superseded Compensation Committee guidelines in 2010 to award our CEO a discretionary payment. Our CEO’s 2011 annual awards will be 20%-based on a subjective analysis of personal metrics. The stock price plunged 63% in the year ending 11/9/2011. Continue Reading →

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SEC Snookered Into No-Action Again

Looking through a few of the relatively recent no-action letters, I see the SEC continues to buy into substitute proposals at higher thresholds to call a special meeting than those proposed by shareowers. In the latest insult, a no-action letter was issued to Hain Celestial to deflect a proposal from Kenneth Steiner calling for a 10% threshold. Hain substituted their’s calling for a 25% threshold.

Hain argued the proposals were in direct conflict because they include different thresholds for the percentage of shares required to call special shareholder meetings and that there is potential for conflicting outcomes if the shareholders consider and adopt both proposals. It amazes me that the SEC continues to get snookered by this logic.

Maybe we need a new rule. If two substantively similar proposals are passed by shareowners, the one with the highest vote count wins.

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