Shareholders express displeasure with Walton, Duke, Scott and Williams
Walmart shareholders upset by allegations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations expressed their displeasure with the Walmart board by casting an unusually large number of negative votes against company insiders last Friday.
Several major shareholders had vowed to vote against key board members in advance of the annual shareholders’ meeting, although the move was seen as largely symbolic since the Walton family and other company insiders control a sufficient number of shares to ensure the defeat or passage of any proposal.
Even so, drawing the most negative votes was former president and CEO Lee Scott with roughly 450 million shares voted against his re-election. Audit committee chairman Chris Williams, who is heading the internal investigation into alleged FCPA violations, drew 379.6 million negative votes, followed by president and CEO Mike Duke with 374.7 million negative votes and chairman Rob Walton with 361.6 million negative votes. By comparison, there were only 18.9 million negative votes cast against board newcomer and Google executive Marissa Mayer.
Several shareholder proposals were also defeated, but one proposal related to a greater disclosure of political contributions garnered 455.9 million yes votes.