Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Shareholders Show Moxie by Proxy

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Shareholders Show Moxie by Proxy

Article excerpt

In the wake of business scandals, greater attention to corporate governance has led a number of companies to stagger terms for their board members and take other steps. On Wednesday, for example, shareholders at Dow Jones & Co. Inc. voted overwhelmingly to require board members to stand for election every year.

Dow Jones' board, which made the proposal (after similar shareholder initiatives were shot down the last six years), decided that annual elections would give shareholders a "greater opportunity to evaluate the performance of the company's directors," according to the proxy.

By and large, however, newspaper companies haven't shown a huge appetite for reform. Only two of them, Lee Enterprises Inc. and the Washington Post Co., treat stock options as an expense, having decided to do so in the past year. Knight Ridder will consider at its annual meeting Tuesday a shareholder proposal to expense stock options, but shareholder proposals generally are seen as long shots.

Dow Jones shareholders rejected a shareholder proposal to separate the jobs of chairman and CEO, another governance issue du jour. Sponsors say they will try again. …

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