Unlike the previous annual shareholder meetings, the 2003 edition of Qwest shareholder confab turned out to be quite tame. The angry stockholders of the yore decided to keep the same board, asked no questions about Federal Investigations, or complained about the low stock price.
bq. Complaints were lodged about the loss of retiree benefits, the lack of stock dividends and independence of certain directors. Notebaert was asked whether it was too much for him to be both CEO and chairman of the board. Notebaert’s response: He wouldn’t have it any other way. The 500 or so stockholders in attendance seemed to buy into Notebaert’s upbeat “Spirit of Service” message, its back-from-the- brink financial turnaround, and its pledge to be on the leading edge of products and services. (Rocky Mountain News)
Another important aspect of this meeting was that the shareholders voted to exclude pension fund gains when calculating executive bonuses. They also won the right to approve any severance package that is worth more than 3 times an executive’s salary and bonus. That is a big step and shareholders finally taking control of their investments in Qwest. I hope other companies follow this path as well.