Novel resolution seeks to opposition votes count

A new shareholder resolution, debuting at NYSE-listed General Electric Co.’s April 28 meeting, is asking the board to adopt a policy prohibiting any director receiving more than a 20% opposition vote from serving on a key board committee (audit, compensation or nomination) for at least two years.

In his supporting statement, shareholder Gerald Armstrong (who is affiliated with John Chevedden) pointed out that two directors who received opposition votes of over 25% in 2009 continued to serve on key board committees. While it is unclear whether other filings are planned, research by ProxyGovernance notes that given that 10% of total nominees in 2009 received oppositional votes of at least 20% (more than double the level of prior years), the resolution has plenty of possible targets. Moreover, the recent change to NYSE Rule 452 regarding broker voting in director elections could well tip more directors over the 20% threshold.

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