Some news for people who worked for the phone company….
A majority of Verizon Communications Inc. shareowners has approved a Proxy Access proposal (Item #7) that amends the company’s bylaws and allows shareholders to nominate a limited number of directors for election to the Board.
The proxy, proposed by the Association of BellTel Retirees Inc., (www.BellTelRetirees.org) says shareholders should be able to nominate a candidate for Verizon’s board, so long as the shareholder (or a group of shareholders) own 3% of Verizon common stock for a period of 3 years or more. 53.2% of shareowners voted in favor of the measure giving the powerful non-profit retiree association its 10th proxy victory in 15 years.
C. William Jones, president of the Association of BellTel Retirees said, “This bylaw will lead to enhanced accountability and allow long-term Verizon shareowners to finally have a true voice in electing directors that are not solely hand-picked by Verizon management. The retirees of Verizon have a significant long-term vested interest in the company—72% of us are shareowners and 90% are customers—and we want it to do well.”
Second Proxy Win in 2013:
The retirees’ also had a second proxy victory this year. After the retirees filed their Performance Stock Unit Payout (PSU) proposal, Verizon’s board of directors approved a reduction in the amount of PSU payout senior executives can earn for below-average stock returns, so that it became more closely aligned with the retiree’s proposal. This is disclosed within Verizon’s annual proxy filing statement.
Mr. Jones continued, “The BellTel Retirees have demonstrated over and over again that a group of small but very engaged shareholders can reshape the compensation and corporate governance policies of a Fortune 15 industry giant in a manner that benefits all company owners.”
The 128,000-member Association of BellTel Retirees (www.belltelretirees.org), has proposed a series of successful corporate governance and executive compensation changes over the last 15 years, first when the company was NYNEX, then Bell Atlantic and now Verizon.
The retiree group has now achieved an unprecedented ten-victories, three by a majority vote (2003 Executive Severance- 59% affirming; 2007 Say on Pay – with 50.18% Yes and 2013’s Proxy Access with 53.2%) and seven others the company and its successor boards negotiated off the proxy ballot.