Monday, October 16, 2006

Date With Destiny

Apparently SEC Chairman Cox has restrained his impulse to administer a swift atomic wedgie to whiny shareholders who don’t like how corporate directors are "elected." He's postponed Wednesday’s public meeting on the AFSCME vs. AIG case (discussed here in a recent post).

The SEC will now enter deep meditation or something, and by December 13 – the new meeting date – it might decide the question the judge threw at them: Can shareholders hitch a ride on the company's proxy statement and vote themselves the power to add their own director nominees to the ballot? In the meantime, this quaint notion - known as "proxy access" - shall remain on our list of oxymorons.

The forces for and against proxy access agree on one thing - if it ever happens it will sweep Proxyland like a tsunami, flooding golf courses and private runways alike. In other words, this one really matters. When former SEC Chairman William Donaldson bravely explored the idea a few years ago, he was forced to back down in the face of overwhelming evidence that allowing shareholders to nominate directors would bring about the end of the world.

Thank goodness he came to his senses, because otherwise we’d probably have some wackjob totalitarian dictator waving nuclear weapons at us right now.