In response to a no-action request, the SEC’s Corp Fin Staff recently decided that Hain Celestial could not exclude a shareholder proposal calling for the company to reincorporate to North Dakota from its proxy statement (the company had hoped to exclude the proposal on procedural grounds; there don’t appear to be substantive grounds to argue for exclusion). Hain Celestial is incorporated in Delaware; the other two companies with this proposal so far – Oshkosh and Whole Foods – are incorporated in Wisconsin and Texas, respectively. Here is a copy of the proposal.
More companies can expect this type of proposal this proxy season as proponents attempt to leverage the North Dakota Publicly Traded Corporations Act, enacted in mid-’07 to provide for a host of shareholder-friendly measures (as noted in this blog).
As noted in this Reuters article, hold-til-retirement and say-on-pay will be two popular shareholder proposals topics during this proxy season as investors turn their attention to pay practices that encourage excessive risk-taking.
An Opportunity to Comment on RiskMetric’s ’09 Proxy Policies
Last week, RiskMetrics’ ISS Division put up a “Request for Comment” for a number of potential modifications to its policies for 2009. Take advantage of this opportunity to influence these important proxy voting policies through an easy-to-use online form. This year, the topics include:
– Poor Accounting Practices (U.S.)
– Discharge of Directors (Europe)
– Independent Chair (U.S.)
– Names of Director Nominees Not Disclosed (Global)
– Net Operating Loss Poison Pills (U.S.)
– Peer Group Selection for Executive Compensation Comparisons (U.S.)
– Poor Pay Practices (U.S.) Pay for Performance (U.S.)
– Corporate Social Responsibility Compensation Related Proposals (U.S.)
– Share Buyback Proposals (Global)
How Do You Feel About the Upcoming Proxy Season?
– Broc Romanek