Hewlett-Packard the Latest to Bow to Shareholder Pressure
Growing shareholder success in the proxy access and say-on-pay movements have forced companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Western Union to change tactics lately.
By Stephen Taub
It looks like shareholder activists are increasingly getting their way with companies, or at least convincing management that if they dont compromise they could wind up paying a steeper price down the road.
A number of recent corporate governance developments suggest that activists are starting to gain the upper hand, and companies are reacting by changing policies or proposing alternatives even when they are not required to.
These trends are playing out in the proxy access and say-on-pay movements.
The latest example: Hewlett-Packard reportedly agreed to put a proxy access bylaw proposal on its ballot in 2013 after reaching a settlement with Amalgamated Bank, a long-time activist investor which had filed a nonbinding proposal for the companys March 2012 meeting. Under HPs proposal, shareholders who own at least 3 percent of the tech companys stock for at least three years would be allowed to nominate up to 20 percent of the companys directors, according to The Wall Street Journal, which stressed the vote would be binding. ....