Tag Archives | diversity

Premiere Global Services, PGI: Proxy Vote Score 40

PGIPremiere Global Services, $PGI, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is June 17, 2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked and voted on 6/11/2014.  I voted with the board’s recommendations 40% of the time, thus assigned a proxy score of 40.  View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the PGI proxy in order to enhance PGI’s corporate governance and long-term value.   Continue Reading →

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American Express (AXP): How I Voted – Proxy Score 47

               American Express Company $AXP is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is on 5/12/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked and voted on 5/4/2014.  I voted with management 47% of the time.  View AXP’s Proxy Statement, which is user friendly. My recommendations on how to vote the AXP proxy follows.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious CrimeI generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions if warranted.  Continue Reading →

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Review: Handbook of Research on Promoting Women's Careers

The march of women into the upper echelon seems inevitable. A few points from the introduction:HandbookOfResearchOnPromotingWomensCareers

  • 60% of recent university graduates have been women, 50% of those graduating with advanced degrees in law and medicine, 1/3 of those with MBAs.
  • There will be labor and skill shortages in all developed countries over the next two decades as baby-boomers retire.
  • Women make 89% of the consumer purchasing decisions.
  • Companies with more women in top management positions are more successful.
  • Women are less greedy, less likely to engage in theft, fraud and corruption, protecting their organizations from failure and poor reputation.
  • Organizations retaining and advancing qualified women have an advantage in the war for talent. Continue Reading →
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Quick Bites on CorpGov

UnknownDon’t miss the following great reads:

 Activist shareholders’ top priorities for 2014. A must read for directors and shareowners alike. Here’s the first paragraph.

Many of us free ride on actions taken by active, long-term shareholders. These unsung heroes goad managers and boards to reach better decisions, make available desirable employment opportunities and, overall, push them to act like good corporate citizens. These active investors accomplish these things by talking to companies, preparing proxy proposals for all shareholders to consider, and offering recommendations on director elections and company-sponsored proxy measures.

Ralph Ward digs past the standard bullshit in his 2014 Boardroom Insider. Always plenty to chew on in a few short pages. Here’s a tidbit, which I hope will leave you wanting more, which includes more tips than you’ll find in pages and pages of other publications aimed at directors. Continue Reading →

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Gender Diversity: ICGN's Position

ICGNThe International Corporate Governance Network sent comments to the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). I think they warrant widespread reading and adoption. What follows are highlights from the OSC letter.

Gender diversity is a competitiveness issue for a company as a whole and a critical dimension of governance, both in the board’s oversight of the enterprise and in the board’s own composition and talent management. Increasing the representation of skilled and competent women on corporate boards will strengthen the corporate governance culture and ultimately contribute to value for all stakeholders. Continue Reading →

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Review – Competition, Diversity and Economic Performance: Processes, Complexities and Ecological Similarities

CompetitionDiversityandEconomicPerformanceProcessesComplexitiesandEcologicalSimilaritiesMainstream microeconomics has emphasized the search for perfectly competitive markets within a framework of equilibria in a quest to maximize economic efficiency. Tisdell argues that intense competition can reduce economic performance. He concentrates on market adjustments and the evolution of economic systems where the role of diversity, product niches, cooperation between firms and comparisons with intra-species competition and inter-species competition. That basic premise rings true to me, since our environment is in constant flux.

His analysis certainly appeals to my sensibilities as a student of the sociology of knowledge, since he reminds us that, unlike other species, humans can “take deliberate actions to prepare themselves for future predicted events, or in come cases they can alter the course of these events to yield outcomes which they prefer.” Evolution is no longer a “blind” process, but can be consciously influenced. Continue Reading →

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Quick Reads in Corporate Governance

Time to Move Down the Food Chain With Proxy Proposals

How does director voting look so far this year? Eighty percent of directors up for election received over 90% shareholder support. And nine of ten received at least 80% support. Directors of large-cap companies had the highest rate of support, averaging 95% approval. Small cap and Micro-cap directors had the lowest affirmative rates, with 76% voting “for.” Only a very small number of individual directors (less than 2%) failed to receive majority shareholder support.  (From ProxyPulse, a Broadridge PwC Initiative. Much more at the site.) Continue Reading →

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Facebook Inc ($FB) – Proxy Score 9

Facebook Inc ($FB) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 6/11/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected no votes when I checked on 6/5/2013.  I voted with management 9% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Senator Warren recently called on the exchanges to block companies with unequal voting structures from listing. Too bad that didn’t happen years ago.

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The Home Depot, Inc. $HD: Proxy Score 81

The Home Depot, Inc. (HD) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/23/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 5/16/2013.  I voted with management 81% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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CorpGov Tidbits

PLANSPONSOR.com reports, a provision in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget that pertains to employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) could result in a disincentive for offering the plans.

The provision would eliminate Internal Revenue Code section 404(k), an incentive for ESOP creation and operation that permits a C corporation to deduct the value of dividends paid on ESOP stock passed through to employees in cash, deductions used to pay the ESOP acquisition loan, or when the employee reinvests in more company stock in his/her ESOP account balance. Continue Reading →

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Event Coverage: Why the Corporation is Failing Us and How to Restore Trust

Introduction by Professor Ronald J. Gilson, the Meyers Professor of Law and Business, Stanford Law School; Commentary of Lecture by Professor David F. Larcker, the James Irvin Miller Professor of Accounting, Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The corporation is one of the most important and remarkable institutions in the world. It affects all our lives continuously. It feeds, entertains, houses and, employs us. It generates vast amounts of revenue for those who own it and it invests a substantial proportion of the wealth that we possess. But the corporation is also the cause of immense problems and suffering, a source of poverty and pollution, and its failures are increasing.  While governments are subject to repeated questioning and scrutiny, the corporation receives relatively little attention.

Professor Colin Mayer discuss his book, Firm Commitment: Why the corporation is failing us and how to restore trust in it, published by Oxford University Press in February 2013.  He sets out how the corporation is failing us, why it is happening now, what are the consequences, and how we can re-establish the corporation as an institution that we value and trust. Continue Reading →

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Does the Gender of Directors Matter?

Miriam Schwartz Ziv

Miriam Schwartz Ziv

Abstract: How does gender-balance affect the working of boards of directors? I examine boards that have been required for two decades to be relatively gender-balanced: boards of business companies in which the Israeli government holds a substantial equity interest. I construct a novel database based on the detailed minutes of 402 board- and board-committee meetings of eleven such companies. I find that boards that had critical masses of at least three directors of each gender in attendance, and particularly of three women, were approximately twice as likely both to request further information and to take an initiative, compared to boards that did not have such critical masses. A 2SLS model confirms these results. Continue Reading →

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