Home Depot Addresses Activist Shareholders
By George Anderson
Owners of publicly traded company stocks, large and small, are taking their investment seriously and seeking to influence how business is done through proposals voted on at annual shareholder meetings.
A recent example of this were two proposals put before Home Depot shareholders calling on the company to restrict severance packages unless approved by shareholders and another asking the company to declare its political neutrality.
The non-binding severance proposal was opposed by the company’s board but approved by 56 percent of shareholders.
A report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said the proposal came from Trowel Trades S&P 500 Index Fund of Detroit, which owns 76,541 shares of Home Depot stock. The group believed Home Depot’s severance packages were excessive.
The call for political neutrality, however, was rejected.
Shareholder Evelyn Y. Davis made the proposal. According to the AJC report, Ms. Davis brought the proposal over her concerns about chief executive Bob Nardelli’s active support of President Bush’s re-election campaign and company donations made to that campaign and the Republican National Committee.
Home Depot said this level of involvement was needed so ‘federal, state and local governments have an understanding of how their actions impact’ the company, its employees and customers.
Moderator’s Comment: Are shareholders becoming more active in attempting to influence company policy? What are your
thoughts on specific proposals voted on by Home Depot’s shareholders? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Home Depot shareholders approve restrictions on severance packages
– The Atlanta Journal-Constitution