60,000 pastries – but how many abstentions?

While it is good news to see that Siemens’ shareholders have resolved to put the past firmly behind them, it is interesting to note the priorities of the Siemens’ PR team.

In most markets, proxy voting disclosure has reached a high standard enabling analysts to see the turnout trends. A  high quality disclosure would typically include the disclosure not just of For and Against votes but also the maximum possible votes at the meeting and positive Abstain/Withold votes. Unfortunately, not Siemens, which instead appears to place a higher priority on the catering arrangements for the day than giving us a comprehensive breakdown of the voting results.

In a jauntily worded press release we are informed: As expected, interest in this year’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting of Siemens AG in Munich’s Olympiahalle was especially high. The 7,700 shareholders attending this year’s event represented some 46,5 percent of Siemens AG’s capital stock. More than 21,000 shareholders ordered tickets for the event and around 34,000 voted by proxy. Over 69,000 shareholders registered to receive meeting documents electronically. By way of comparison: in 2009, approximately 9,500 shareholders attended.

The organizers were optimally prepared for the crowds. Some 60,000 pastries and salty snacks helped satisfy mini appetites. Around noon, over 10,000 portions of original Munich Leberkäs, veal patties and wraps filled with basil cream cheese and smoked salmon were served, and nearly 2.5 tons of fresh meat products and sausages were consumed. Over 12,000 liters of cold drinks and 20,000 cups of hot coffee quenched shareholders’ thirst. A total of 50 cooks, 320 catering staff and 40 kitchen personnel were on hand to make certain that not one plate nor one of the 75,000 cups remained empty.

Ten thousand Siemens climate protection card games illustrating the most important energy-saving technologies were also distributed. Source:  http://w1.siemens.com/press/en/events/corporate/2010-hv.php

So A+ for catering logistics, Siemens, but C- for governance transparency.

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