[A] shareholder proposal for an independent chairman at Wells Fargo received 17% of votes in favor, according to estimates from the bank. That is among the lowest percentage in recent years, and the 11th year in a row such a proposal has failed. [Emph. added.]
I have a question. What exactly is the point of wasting a bunch of time and effort putting forth these sorts of initiatives? A few thoughts: first, there is no evidence I know of that suggests that splitting the CEO’s role from the chairman’s improves either governance or corporate performance. Many (probably most) of the best-run, best-performing companies combine the two jobs. Second, 17% is not very high percentage of the vote; Wells Fargo shareholders seem to have made their mind up on this particular matter. Third, you’d think that after losing for eleven years in a row on the issue, the people who put forth crazy proposals like this would have gotten the message.
But they haven’t. The reason why, I suspect, is because they don’t care so much about good governance or enhanced shareholder returns as they do about rather signaling their own virtue.
Why, there’s a whole industry on Wall Street devoted to just that. Unfortunately, the whole business is a useless scam. Requiring repeated votes on issues like separating the CEOs job from the chairman’s becomes, at some point a waste of time. Eventually, their advocates ought to decide to move on.
What do you think? Let me know!