In 2015, 333 shareholder proposals went to vote, representing an increase of almost 34% over 2014. 72 of these were proxy access proposals in the S&P 1500, which is just one of a few key trends discussed in Georgeson’s Annual Corporate Governance Review. Rajeev Kumar, a senior managing director of research at Georgeson, posted in Harvard Law School’s Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation about this and other corporate governance findings during the 2015 proxy season.
He mentions other topics such as increasing focus on board composition, and on diversity in particular: “There were 15 shareholder proposals relating to board composition on the ballot in 2015 compared with nine in 2014. Four of these proposals were on the topic of board diversity and received 11.1 percent average shareholder support, down substantially from the average of 29.1 percent in 2014.” Apple’s most recent proxy filing illustrates this point.
Even though more shareholder proposals are being submitted, shareholder support on Say on Pay remains high. “Based on 2015 vote results for Russell 3000 companies with meetings through June 30, the average support level increased marginally from last year, and at nearly 92 percent, represents the best results for the proposal thus far.”
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