Investors, executives to discuss CEO pay
Los Angeles Times
Friday, February 9, 2007
About 20 large investors and company officials will meet
today as the first step in a campaign by shareholders to
gain a bigger voice on setting compensation for U.S. company
Corporate governance groups and public-sector pension funds
have won major victories since Enron and WorldCom collapsed
six years ago. A growing number of companies have agreed to
annual elections of directors and other rules to make
executives more accountable to investors.
Representatives from the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees, Walden Asset Management,
Pfizer Inc. and others will meet at the New York offices of
pension fund giant TIAA-CREF to discuss shareholder advisory
votes on executive compensation. About 10 companies and 10
investment groups with $1 trillion in assets will be in the
The recent windfall severance payment to former Home Depot
Inc. Chief Executive Robert Nardelli, who was ousted after
years of poor performance, has sparked wide interest in
executive pay packages and the boards that approve them.
At the same time, Democratic leaders in Congress plan to
hold hearings and the Securities and Exchange Commission has
forced greater disclosure of compensation.
Activist shareholders have faced stiff opposition from
corporate groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that
worry that direct access could be disruptive.
But pension funds and other shareholders simply want greater
accountability, Richard Ferlauto, director of pension and
benefit policy for the public workers' federation, said at a
New York Society of Security Analysts corporate governance
"We have a system that's broken," Ferlauto said. "We have
overblown executive pay that is picking the pockets of