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A say on pay
Commentary: Executive compensation focus for 2008 shareholder action
By Thomas Kostigen, MarketWatch
Last update: 5:59 p.m. EDT June 1, 2008
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (MarketWatch) — It's that time of year again: proxy season. And along with it comes a good indication of what's on investors' minds. Actually, more to the point, it's which issues investors would like addressed by the companies in which they invest.
At Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:, , ) , the "green" theme is playing out (again), with investors calling for an executive — maybe even a chairman — who will push the company in a new, alternative energy direction. Shareholders vote not to split chairman/CEO roles
But most of the proposals being waged at companies in the form of "shareholder resolutions" have to do with executive pay.
For some reason the executive-pay resolutions are gaining more traction than the other frequently lobbed investor issue: green policies. These proposals have much to do with companies putting into practice more energy-efficient programs and becoming more mindful of their polluting ways.
In any event, greed is trumping green for now. However, I expect that to change next season when investors wake up to the fact that resource inefficiency is sucking profits.
"I am encouraged by the breadth of investor support for the advisory vote reform including state and city pension funds, foundations and religious investors, individuals, trade union pension funds and mutual funds," Smith says.
The big guns are out, so companies may be wise to prune the outrageous sums we've seen over the past years from compensation packages. Corporate boardrooms beware: Investors are listening hard and speaking out loud about pay.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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