Accor: Double voting rights dissapointment

Minority shareholders in Accor, were disappointed when their resolution was not passed at its AGM (5th May) meaning double voting rights continue for large investors in the hotel chain.
French social investment firm, Phitrust Partners, advised by corporate governance and proxy voting specialists Proxinvest, submitted the resolution – calling for the principle of “one share – one vote” to be adopted at Accor  – with the support of other minority shareholders. It gained 52.4% support but required a two-thirds majority to be passed.
Before the meeting, Proxinvest had expressed disappointment that the board had not supported the proposal and in response advised shareholders to vote against the re-election of certain directors. Proxinvest had advised against the re-election of Accor’s chairman and chief executive Sébastien Bazin and the election of the recently appointed former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, to the board of directors.
Accor double voting rights

Hotel chain Accor has retained its double voting rights

Loïc Dessaint, chief executive of Proxinvest, suggested that Bazin’s former verbal commitments to good governance were no longer convincing and that Proxinvest’s voting policy could no longer support his re-election. The voting results from the meeting show that 8.59% of votes opposed the re-election of Bazin and 2.62% of votes opposed the election of Sarkozy.

Phitrust and Proxinvest were concerned about the undue influence that the double voting rights gave to the large investors – JingJiang International and the QIA / Kingdom Holdings concert. Proxinvest had said that Jin Jiang had been pushing for a seat on the board and expressed concern that he would be able to weigh into company decisions without having to launch a takeover bid.
 Following the AGM Phitrust said, “We hope that this vote will not result in the control of Accor by these shareholders to the detriment of the other minority shareholders.
Supported by many long-term French and foreign investors, Phitrust will continue to actively participate in discussion at General Meetings about the impact of these double voting rights for  minority shareholders.”
Proxinvest has previously warned about the dangers of double voting rights at French companies which it has said means that votes against incentive plans or the remuneration reports were diluted by the large investors voting in favour of management.

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