Charlotte, NC – The Say on Pay resolution led by Boston Common Asset Management received support from 43.3% of IBM shareholders at today’s annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The proposal, commonly referred to as Say on Pay and filed by 11 additional investor proponents, asks management to allow shareowners to cast non-binding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ votes on the company’s executive compensation report.
“Over 40 percent of IBM shareholders made a strong statement today by openly opposing the Board’s assertion that an advisory vote on management’s compensation is unwarranted,” said Dawn Wolfe, social research and advocacy analyst at Boston Common. “While the company is a leader on many corporate governance issues, Mr. Palmisano’s high level of compensation is of concern. Giving shareholders a Say on Pay in the form of an advisory vote would encourage the Board to explain why that level of compensation should be supported.”
Given an overall concern with the decoupling of pay from performance and the widening gap between CEO compensation and that of the average U.S. worker, Boston Common advocates for Say on Pay at a number of its portfolio companies.
In 2008, Boston Common was the lead proponent of Say on Pay proposals at IBM and Waddell & Reed Financial, where the proposal received support from 49.5% of shareholders at the annual meeting on April 9th.
To date, 95 say-on-pay proposals have been filed for the 2008 proxy season by a diverse network of over 70 institutional and individual investors. Five companies including Aflac, Verizon, Blockbuster, RiskMetrics Group, and Par Pharmaceuticals have agreed to give shareholders a Say on Pay. Aflac’s decision to adopt an advisory vote on executive compensation evolved from an open and constructive dialogue led by Boston Common beginning in 2006.