It's a First - Deere Investors Pass a Shareholder Proposal
From now on, some Deere and Company shareholders will be allowed to nominate candidates for the board of directors.
Michelle O'Neill went to Wednesday's annual meeting in Moline, and reports shareholders approved the proposal from a California investor.
It's sort of a milestone. Deere shareholders have not succeeded in passing a stockholder proposal. But that changed on Wednesday.
Director of Global Public Relations, Ken Golden, says company officials and the board objected to the proposal for what's called, proxy access. But it passed unofficially, with 58% approval. It allows a shareholder who's owned at least three percent of Deere shares for at least three years to nominate directors.
"We objected because it could allow outside interference with the board's normal operations. We believe our process allowed people to be nominated if they wanted to be."
Martin Glotzer from Chicago represented the California man who submitted the proposal. "Well, when I used to submit proposals, we thought 4-5% turnout was great. But here, 58%! That was unheard of."
Glotzer is well-known in Chicago's corporate circles because he attends many annual meetings. And he's not happy with the way Deere and Company "sequesters" its board members. "At a recent GE meeting I attended, directors mingled with shareholders before and after the meeting. That's the way it should be to give a chance to see what they look like, not their backs."
Shareholders rejected another proposal to set a more aggressive goal to reduce greenhouse gasses. And they rejected a proposal about stricter rules on political spending by Deere.
Deere shareholders also elected eleven directors, including one new member, Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel Corporation.
Another new face is Sheila Talton who began serving on the board last May. She's worked for data system companies, and is currently the president and CEO of Gray Matter Analytics, in Chicago.