"The leader of the Securities and Exchange Commission (Christopher Cox) told lawmakers yesterday that he is poised to move ahead with a controversial shareholders rights proposal, drawing sharp criticism from Democratic lawmakers and officials from unions and pension funds. In July, Cox voted to seek comment on two conflicting proposals. One would codify the way the SEC has typically done business in a manner that allows companies to exclude investor proposals from proxies sent to a company's shareholders. The second, broader plan would have allowed investors that hold at least 5 percent of a company's stock greater leeway in proposing board candidates in exchange for more disclosure about their operations."According to another source, the "SEC chief cites legal ‘confusion’ as reason to curtail shareholders’ ability to nominate directors, but says he’ll revisit the issue in spring."
Shareholder proposals have helped to increase the number of women and minorities serving on corporate boards. They have also helped encourage diversity initiatives at these same corporations.
To ignore the risk these SEC proposals pose to efforts to better manage corporations is to ignore demographic trends. We invited the Operation PUSH sponsored Wall Street Project to a meeting we had on 11/20/07 with staff in the SEC Chairman's Office to discuss the matter. We never received a reply. Of course, we went without him, (or the Urban League or the NAACP, for that matter.)
Of course, these groups may comment in a year or two, once the more restrictive of the two proposals has been adopted and black board membership and black employment starts to fall.
Where there is no vision....