The Funny Business of Shareholder Meetings
Thursday, 1 Apr 2010 | 1:43 PM ET
Today I was sent to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica (nice!) to
cover the KB Home
annual shareholders meeting.
The California homebuilder
has had a rough time of it in the housing downturn. Its former CEO, Bruce
Karatz, is currently on trial for 20 counts alleging stock options
backdating which would put him away for 400 years if convicted.
drew our interest to the meeting this year were a few shareholder
proposals on executive compensation. Three different shareholder advisory
groups used strong language in recommending a "yes" vote on some of these
proposals. They even recommended against re-election for some board
shareholder proposal in particular sought to set compensation targets "at
or below the peer group median" and "target long-term compensation through
performance-vested, not simply time-vested" equity awards.
story, right? Everyone's all worked up about pay for performance. The day
seemed simple: stake out the meeting, find out the vote, report the
Turns out it's been easier for me to gain entry to San Quentin or a
high-security federal criminal court case than this meeting.
producer, MaryCatherine Wellons, knew we couldn't get into the meeting
itself. It was for shareholders only, and even they might not all fit in.
The company, in what seemed an unusual step, moved the meeting this year
from headquarters to the hotel, where it warned that seating was very
However, the hotel gave us permission to park our live truck on the
property, and we waited in the lobby. We contacted KB Home PR who didn't
have a problem with that.
Then, suddenly, we were told to leave the building. Then our cameraman was
told to leave the property completely.
MaryCatherine and I went to sit in the live truck. Then we were told that
while the live truck could stay, MaryCatherine and I, like the cameraman,
had to leave the property. Not sure what difference that made, but I
decamped to Starbucks to "monitor" the situation. A shareholder
representing a union pushing the pay for performance proposal said he
would email us voting results. MaryCatherine and the cameraman loitered on
the sidewalk (public property), while KB Home security eyed them like they
were TMZ staking out Sandra Bullock.
this over a pay for performance proposal.
Finally, we got word the proposal failed. A victory for KB Home
Story over, finish my venti drip, head back. Fortunately, I was parked on
MaryCatherine was parked in the hotel.
After some negotiation, she was allowed back on the property to pay the
valet and retrieve her car.
can hardly wait 'til next year. Maybe I'll hire TMZ to cover...
© 2010 CNBC, Inc. All