CHICAGO (AP) - Shareholder activist Robert Monks lost his bid
for a seat on the Sears, Roebuck and Co. board of directors Thursday
as shareholders re-elected Chairman Edward A. Brennan and two other
management candidates, the company said.
Sears said in a late afternoon statement that while certified
results were not yet available, a preliminary tally ``clearly''
showed Brennan and directors Sybil C. Mobley and Edgar B. Stern Jr.
won new three-year terms at the company's annual meeting.
Calls to Monks' office for comment were not immediately
answered. Earlier in the day, he questioned the legitimacy of the
election process because it prevented owners of about 80 million of
Sears' 344 million shares from voting for him.
The shares are owned by Sears employees through profit-sharing
plans. The company's election rules allowed the employees to
instruct trustees of the plans to vote their shares for the
boardnominated candidates or to abstain, but not to vote for Monks.
``The decision that is reached will be one that I personally
doubt the legitimacy of,'' Monks told a news conference before the
outcome of the vote was announced.
The profit-sharing fund's four trustees, two of whom are Sears
directors, did not reveal how those shares were voted. They said in
a statement they cast the fund's votes ``among the candidates in the
manner which ... would maximize benefits to participants of the
Monks is a former Labor Department official and head of
Washington-based Institutional Shareholder Partners Inc. His major
complaint was that the directors of Sears and other large
corporations do not pay enough attention to shareholders.
He told reporters Thursday his campaign had inspired Sears
stockholders to speak up and forced Brennan to listen.
``Whatever happens to my candidacy, Sears, Roebuck has been
changed,'' he said.
Brennan told a news conference he did not believe the retailing
and financial services conglomerate had been changed by Monks'
He conceded, however, the company's commitment to seek more
investor input on future board nominations probably was in response
Monks said Sears' biggest problem is that its directors are
nominated by a committee headed by Brennan, so that the board works
for Brennan instead of the other way around. …