Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Business.view: Coffee and pastries but no debate | The Economist

Interesting look at shareholder meetings from The Economist.

Business.view: Coffee and pastries but no debate | The Economist:
"Exxon Mobil is not alone in giving the appearance of regarding the annual meeting as a pointless legal obligation, a sort of tax on the time of the executives and board which must be endured with the least possible effort. Indeed, there is no reason to think that Exxon Mobil is a particularly serious offender: at least it provides decent pastries, and the entire board attends.

Contrast that with an infamous annual meeting of Home Depot shareholders in 2006. Bob Nardelli, the retailer’s then boss, was the only director to show up. Large clocks were used to keep the utterances of talkative shareholders to a minimum. Mr Nardelli, whose combative style earned the firm the nickname “Home Despot”, did not take questions. The whole event was over in less than 40 minutes. Mr Nardelli was fired soon after, in part because of shareholders’ fury at his annual-meeting arrogance—though more because he had failed, despite a huge pay package, to move the firm’s share price in the right direction."

Want to see an actual shareholder meeting? Here is one from Wal Mart:

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