This excerpt taken from the AXP DEF 14A filed Mar 14, 2008.
Reasons for and Effect of the Proposal
Last year, to further strengthen this majority voting approach, the Board of Directors committed to seek shareholder approval at this Annual Meeting to amend our Certificate of Incorporation to establish majority voting for Directors in non-contested elections. The Board of Directors believes that this proposal strengthens the director nomination process and enhances director accountability.
Under the proposed amendment, each vote will be specifically counted for or against a Director nominees election. The affirmative vote of a majority of the total number of votes cast for or against a Director nominee will be required for election. Shareholders will also be entitled to abstain with respect to the election of a Director. In accordance with New York law, abstentions and broker non-votes, if any, will have no effect in determining whether the required affirmative majority vote has been obtained.
In a contested election, Directors shall continue to be elected by a plurality of the votes cast. An election shall be deemed contested if there are more nominees than positions on the Board of Directors to be filled at the meeting of shareholders as of the 14th day before the date on which the Company files its definitive proxy statement with the SEC.
Under New York law, shareholders must approve the proposed amendment to the Companys Certificate of Incorporation. If approved, the amendment will become effective upon the filing with the New York Department of State of a certificate of amendment of the Companys Certificate of Incorporation. The Company would make such a filing promptly after the Annual Meeting.
Under New York law, an incumbent director who is not re-elected remains in office until his or her successor is elected and qualified, continuing as a holdover director until his or her position is filled by a subsequent shareholder vote or his or her earlier resignation or removal by a shareholder vote. To address this situation, upon shareholder approval of the proposed amendment and the filing of the certificate of amendment, the Board of Directors will amend the Companys by-laws to require an incumbent Director who does not receive the requisite majority vote for his or her re-election immediately to tender his or her resignation to the Board. The Board of Directors, excluding such Director, shall then decide whether or not to accept such resignation and shall promptly disclose and explain its decision in a Form 8-K filed with the SEC within 90 days after the results of the election are certified. In acting on the tendered resignation, the Board shall consider all factors that it may deem relevant.