In my business, it seems you only win the ones that don’t count. In my case:
- Sears pulled out all the stops to keep me off the board;
- After winning a 40% precatory vote to separate the CEO and Chairman at Exxon two years running, support fell to 30% when we changed it to a mandatory amendment.
The Jamie Dimon situation at JPMorgan has been so public that it must be clear to everyone by now that a process that allows the company to keep track of the voting results while denying the same right to challengers is not meant to be fair. Dimon & company “threw everything they had” at shareholder efforts to separate the CEO and chairman positions and, according to today’s Global Proxy Watch newsletter this included at least $5 million.
Company directors fall in line to defeat measures like this because they don’t want shareholder success to spread to their own companies.
The cards are stacked against most stock owners. With the exception of the Carl Icahns and people like him –billionaires who can afford the otherwise crippling legal and administrative costs, the current state of shareholder democracy is a nullity.