April 5, 2013

Preparing for the Annual Meeting: Don’t Forget the Issues of the Day

This Huffington Post article entitled “Starbucks Gay Marriage Stance: CEO Puts Smackdown On Anti-Marriage Equality Shareholder” is a good reminder to prep your officers & directors for questions related to headline news (here’s a video of Howard Schultz’s response to the question). The answers to those questions have the greatest potential to become headline news themselves. So prior thought, discussion and analysis is important. Don’t forget we have 15 brand new annual meeting checklists for you…

Peggy Foran and her team at Prudential have filed the company’s proxy statement including another letter to shareholders from the board.

Shareholder Proposals: Goldman Sachs for President!

Over on our “Proxy Season Blog,” I have been blogging about recent shareholder proposal trends & developments (a topic to be covered in our upcoming proxy season post-mortem webcast). Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that a shareholder proposal asking Goldman Sachs to run for office – rather than fund political contributions – has been permitted to be excluded by Corp Fin. You read that right – the proposal said Goldman itself should explore running for office, not an employee of Goldman. The proposal was ironic, piggybacking on the Citizens United decision in which the Supreme Court found that corporations have similar political rights to individuals. Thanks to Lois Yurow for pointing this out!

Risks of Inspectors of Election Being Sued

All of the players involved in an annual meeting can be sued, including the proxy solicitor (eg. see this SNL article). In this podcast, Carl Hagberg provides his thoughts about the risks of inspectors being sued, including:

– How do these lawsuits arise?
– What can companies do to protect themselves in the event of a lawsuit?

– Broc Romanek