Management Turnover as Change Agent

Monday, September 21, 2009

Recommended Reading - Too Many No Voted to Be Ignored, The New York Times

Gretchen Morgenson, the New York Times business reporter, wrote another spot-on story in Sunday’s Business section on the need for ending what she calls the often “cozy relationships” between corporate board members and management. Morgenson’s story, Too Many ‘No’ Votes to be Ignored stated,

For years, shareholders have done little to voice complaints about such cozy relationships, but it seems that the financial fiasco of the last few years, and the lackadaisical performance by directors at major banks that contributed to the meltdown, is encouraging investors to become more vocal.

Signs of such a welcome development can be seen in the results of this year’s director elections at annual corporate meetings.

… Even with such thumbs-downs nearly doubling year-over-year, negative votes on directors still remain relatively small and suggest that investors have plenty of room for improvement if they want to make themselves heard.

… Investors are clearly angry with their companies, and they have their reasons. Director accountability to the shareholders they are supposed to serve has been sorely lacking for decades. Even as they rubber stamp risky corporate practices and excessive executive pay, directors continue to win re-election to their increasingly lucrative board seats.

Liberum has also been examining this issue over the last two years. Investors often need to be vocal about how they view management and the responsibilities of board members. Investors must also stay on top of specific board changes for they could mean a potential change in management or strategy. To get more information on the specific statistics Morgenson referred to in her story check out the study performed by Proxy Governance, Inc. entitled SHAREHOLDER VOTES OPPOSING DIRECTOR NOMINEES SHOW SHARP INCREASE IN 2009 PROXY SEASON.

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