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Crain's Chicago Business, May 19, 2010 article




       With so much information available online these days, the corporate annual meeting might seem perfunctory — except for dedicated gadflies like Martin Glotzer, who isn't afraid to call out CEOs like Warren Buffett.

blog post photo
Martin Glotzer

       "There's a lot of information already out there, but I like to go and talk to people in person," says Mr. Glotzer, 82, president of the little-known Chicago-based Cincinnati Union Stockyard Co. and a regular attendee at Chicago-area shareholder meetings.

    Mr. Glotzer asks questions, makes comments and offers proposals for out-of-state shareholder friends who can't hit the meetings. This year he'll attend about 40 meetings of companies in which he holds shares.

    He's been attending meetings for 50 years and has seen how technology has changed the way executives communicate with shareholders. "It used to be that reporters and analysts would ask a lot of questions. You don't see that so much now," he says. Still, small shareholders like to hear what company leaders have to say, he says. 

    "If a company is doing good, attendance drops. If the company is doing bad, everyone shows up," Mr. Glotzer says.

     If you ask, the west Rogers Park resident will also rate the food offered and talk about the gifts given to attendees.
    At Kraft's meeting Tuesday, Mr. Glotzer complained that Mr. Buffett, whose $3.2 billion in shares make him the largest shareholder in the company, didn't show up to explain why he was cutting his stake in the mac 'n' cheese maker.
    "I told them, 'We should be thankful he's selling shares because it helped others buy back Kraft shares,' " he told me after the meeting.

    As for the food at Kraft's meeting — it's better than most because it's a food company, says Mr. Glotzer. (He was surprised to be served Starbucks-owned Seattle's Best coffee, which he discovered is distributed by Kraft.)
    Mr. Glotzer plans to attend McDonald's and Aon's shareholders meetings this week. He was disappointed to have missed last week's Illinois Tool Works meeting, where attendees received a small tire pump.
    "They always give the best gifts," says Mr. Glotzer.



Copyright © 2010 Crain Communications, Inc.




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