CalSTRS, With Fellow Pension Plans, Achieves First Major U.S. Corporate Proxy Access Success
WEST SACRAMENTO, CA – CalSTRS, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, and pension plans from New York, Illinois, North Carolina and Connecticut today announced success in achieving corporate board accountability via proxy access at Nabors Industries, Ltd.—the first such victory at a U.S. public company.
A majority of shareholders supported the resolution requiring Nabors to allow shareholder-nominated candidates for up to a quarter of the board’s seats on the corporate proxy ballot. The resolution applies to any shareholder, or coalition of shareholders, who hold at least a 3-percent stake in the company for at least three years.
“This is a great day for shareholder democracy,” said Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance at CalSTRS. “At last, shareholders will have a fair voice in the boardroom of a major corporation. We hope this victory will demonstrate to boards of directors that shareholders are paying attention and will not stand by when boards are unresponsive to their shareholders’ concerns.”
A CalSTRS representative presented the proposal at the Nabors Industries, Ltd. annual meeting on June 5, 2012, with the backing of the New York City Retirement Systems, the State of North Carolina Investment Fund, the Connecticut Retirement Plan, and the Illinois State Board of Investments. The CalSTRS presentation cited the board’s excessive compensation in the face of poor company performance; the overwhelming 2010 and 2011 votes to declassify the board of directors; and the company’s history of high-percentage shareholder withhold votes in director elections.
The exact count in the annual meeting vote was not immediately known but Nabors will report it as required by the Security and Exchange Commission.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $153.7 billion as of April 30, 2012, is the largest teacher pension fund and second largest public pension fund in the United States. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and defined contribution plans, as well as disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS serves California’s 856,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,600 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.