November 22, 2022

Universal Proxy: Non-Traditional Contestants on the Way?

Some commenters on the newly implemented universal proxy rules have predicted that the ability to use a single proxy card and the potential to run a proxy contest a lot more cheaply than in the past may attract non-traditional players to enter the fray. This recent blog from Jim McRitchie announcing a forum on using the UPC process to advance board nominees focusing on ESG issues suggests that prediction may soon come to pass – and Jim appears to have a target in mind:

Amazon is an example. If it can be done at an affordable price at Amazon, we can run candidates at many other companies. Engine No. 1’s campaign at Exxon Mobil made history. Yet, they ran industry experts, not directors aimed at converting XOM to a CSR company. I would run a candidate(s) at Amazon concerned with worker rights… as well as other ESG concerns. At the very least, we should start looking for potential candidates.

Jim goes on to say that “We need to move beyond filing 20+ proposals at Amazon and other companies facing a plethora of issues. We need board candidates who share our concerns and to anticipate, rather than just react to issues as they arise. Otherwise, we will continue fighting the symptoms of undemocratic corporate governance.” Stay tuned. This is likely to be a very interesting proxy season.

John Jenkins