This proxy season has been defined by more shareholder resistance to management proposals.
columnist Leslie P. Norton analyzed the COVID-19 undercurrents within this year’s AGM results so far, and she highlights some upcoming meetings worth watching from an investor pressure standpoint.
- Uber (May 11) – CtW Investment Group is urging votes against the company’s independent director and executive compensation plan.
- McDonald’s (May 21) – CtW has urged voting against McD’s chairman, citing issues around the workplace environment post lock-down.
- Lowe’s (May 29) – The home-improvement retailer’s board proposes to reduce the special meeting threshold to 15 percent from 25 percent. One shareholder, however, wants to see it drop to 10 percent.
- Alphabet (June 3) – Google also faces proposals to appoint a human rights expert to its board.
quotes Neuberger Berman’s head of ESG investing who, looking ahead to next year, predicts that pandemic response will drive the proposals and votes: “Do boards look at how to maximize resilience and protect workers during a difficult time?”
At the same time, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz says that institutional investors are showing some flexibility this proxy season around topics such as board structure and ESG policies.
Moral Money newsletter spotted key wording in the New York Fed’s FAQ for its emergency asset purchase program. The program, which has appointed BlackRock as its investment manager, is built “to support the availability of credit to large employers in the U.S.” That means BlackRock will likely have to park its ESG principles for the effort, including its fossil fuel divestment pledge, as the Fed has made it clear that this effort is about financial support and not stakeholder management.
Stay safe and have a good weekend,