Score one for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The country’s largest public pension fund won in its scrimmage with Apple Inc. about how Apple directors get to stay on board.
Apple shareholders voting at the company’s annual meeting today backed a CalPERS-offered proposal that asks the board of directors to jump on the majority voting bandwagon.
“An election where you can be voted in without a majority is unworthy of a great company like Apple,” said Anne Simpson, CalPERS’ senior portfolio manager who heads its corporate governance program, in a press release. “We strongly urge Apple to make the change that its owners are requesting.”
Posted by Neal Lipschutz
on February 08, 2011
, Corporate Governance
, United States
The U.S.’s largest public pension funds reports further progress in its useful quest to get more publicly traded companies to adopt majority voting for directors.
Simply put, majority voting requires a director in an uncontested election to receive more “for” votes from shareholders than “withhold” votes to continue to serve on the board of directors.
The 58 companies targeted in March 2010 by The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) were holding onto the plurality system. Under that system, a single “for” vote could re-elect a director.
For years, the nation’s largest public pension fund has been a major force in national investment trends and in corporate governance.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (whose acronym, CalPERS, boasts a strange capitalization pattern) stakes out the moral high ground for shareholder rights. It’s also an investor that made the decision to go well beyond simple stocks and bonds.
But, as well documented in a Los Angeles Times article today by Tom Petruno and Stuart Pfeifer, CalPERS’ reputation has taken a hit. A couple of quotes from the article give you the flavor:
“Slammed by huge investment losses in last year’s meltdown of financial markets, the nation’s largest public retirement plan faces questions about its long-term ability to make good on the benefits it owes more than 1.6 million workers, retirees and their families.”
And there’s this recent news:
“CalPERS also has been tainted by its involvement with so-called placement agents, middlemen who lobby pension funds on the behalf of big money managers.”
By the way, if you want a career with a lot of income when you are done, consider the California Highway Patrol. An officer with 30 years of service can retire at age 50 at 90% of base pay for life. No typo, that is 90%.