Final Walmart shareholder vote tallies show growing calls for change in company leadership, policies
The final vote tallies released by Walmart at the company’s 2012 shareholders’ meeting last week clearly show growing concern and a lack of confidence in the retailers’s policies and leadership from public shareholders.
The percentage of votes against the board increased ten-fold from last year and the proposal to rein in executive compensation received notable support for a first-year proposal. With the Walton family controlling approximately 50% of the company shares, these votes underscore the growing discontent from non-family shareholders, with one in three voting against the board.
Director Lee Scott, who was CEO during the time period when the alleged Mexico bribery and cover-up scandal happened, received the largest number of no votes with about 15% of shareholders voting against his re-election (38.8% of non-Walton votes) up from 1% last year. Votes against CEO Mike Duke and Chairman Rob Walton’s increased to more than 13% and 12% (33.1% and 32.4% of the non-Walton votes), up from 0.5% and 0.9% last year.
The winds of change at Walmart were all the more evident at this year’s shareholder meeting with the introduction of Proposal #6, concerning executive compensation, which received approximately 267 million votes, 22.7% of the shares not held by the Walton family.
The pension funds voting in support of Proposal #6 included the New York Pension Fund, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), with 7.7 million shares, California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), which filed a lawsuit in early May regarding the alleged bribery, the Florida State Board of Administration and the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds. The Texas Pension Review Board and the Wisconsin Retirement System also announced after the meeting that they voted their shares for proposal #6 and against key board leadership. The Ohio Public Employment Retirement System voted against eight members of the Walmart board.