1. Annual Meetings are the New Frontline in the Battle Over Corporate Purpose

    Annual Meetings are the New Frontline in the Battle Over Corporate Purpose

    COMPANIES HAVE always had to answer to their investors. But these days shareholders have new questions—lots of them. On April 28th shareholders in three big drug companies, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Moderna and Pfizer, are set to vote on resolutions filed by Oxfam, a charity, that seek to widen access to covid-19 vaccines...

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    1. The number of investors that it takes to get to 50% has greatly shrunk.
    2. The targeting of those proposals continues to improve, but so has the materiality of the risks that shareholders are bringing up.
    3. It's really hard to get anything through Congress, so people that want things to change are looking outside of government and they are looking at the capital markets.
    4. The is trying to stretch the definition of materiality.
    5. What we are seeing right now is advocacy groups just interested in picking fights with large companies for the sake of building public attention and momentum.
    6. We have never ever had a corporate board election that has been democratic.
    7. It is very difficult for a large asset manager to satisfy the competing expectations of their upstream investors, some of whom want to move very quickly on and others who don't.
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