Pressure Pays Off For Pensions As Some Large Companies Give Shareholders More Power Over Boardroom


Pension360 has covered the efforts of several large pension funds that have been trying to use their clout as major shareholders to gain more authority over corporate board nominations.

[Read about New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Boardroom Accountability Project here.]

Now, several large companies appear to have gotten the message and are willing to give proxy access to major shareholders.

From the Wall Street Journal:

At least 14 companies, including Yum Brands Inc., Citigroup Inc. and General Electric Co., have agreed in recent weeks to support giving shareholders the ability to nominate their own directors for corporate ballots.

A powerful bloc of investors is pressing more than 100 other large companies—including many that have fought such efforts in the past—to take similar steps and adopt a form of “proxy access.” This would require companies to include the names of all board nominees, even those not backed by the company, directly on corporate ballots distributed before shareholder annual meetings.

The shift could give pension funds, unions and other investors greater influence over the strategic and financial choices of U.S. companies by enabling individual or groups of shareholders to install their own directors.

For most of the companies mentioned above, the three and three rule will apply: the right to nominate a board member is given to any shareholder who has held at least three percent of the company’s stock for at least three years.

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