This excerpt taken from the HPQ DEF 14A filed Jan 23, 2007.
5Subject Any Future Poison Pill to Shareholder Vote
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that our Board adopt a rule that our Board subject any future poison pill to shareholder vote, as a separate ballot item, as soon as possible. It is essential to this proposal that it be adopted through bylaw or charter inclusion and that a sunset on a poison pill will not substitute for a shareholder vote.
Nick Rossi, P.O. Box 249, Boonville, Calif. 95415 sponsors this proposal.
Pills Entrench Current Management
Our Board has less accountability if it can adopt a future poison pill without a shareholder vote. I believe this proposal is consistent with other proposals to improve the lack of accountability of our Board.
For instance, a proposal that seeks access to H-P's proxy in order to allow shareholders groups more say in who gets on the H-P board has been submitted for the 2007 annual meeting. The proposal asks H-P to change its bylaws to allow groups that hold 3% or more of the company's stock to be able to post nominations for H-P board members. The sponsors are retirement funds from the states of New York, Connecticut and North Carolina plus the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Pension Funds (AFSCME). The four funds own a combined 30 million H-P shares worth about $676 million.
At least one governance expert goes so far as to recommend a complete sweep of the existing board. "I think you clean house," said Charles Elson, the chairman of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. "You do it in a logical, determined, measured way, but I think over the next couple of years you need to reconstitute that board." Elson suggested to Business Week to start with those who had the closest connections to past management.
There are additional improvements our Board can make. For one, the new majority-vote rule only goes so far: The board can still reject a member's resignation, making the rule, which can be rescinded, "pretty slippery,"
Nell Minow told Business Week. Minow is the co-founder and editor of governance adviser The Corporate Library.
The board should also turn to a new outside attorney, said governance experts. Larry Sonsini, H-P outside attorney, suggested that the H-P Board leak investigation was "within legal limits" and then helped run an H-P board meeting after news of the scandal broke.
To improve the lack of accountability of our Board...