Posted by Shia K. at
5/19/2010 5:16 AM CDT
on Chicago Business
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.
"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
"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'
"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.