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Note: James Kristie, the editor Directors & Boards, has been a member of the Program Panel for the Shareholder Forum's "E-Meetings" public interest program to establish standards for electronic communications associated with annual meetings.


Directors & Boards | E-Briefing, February 1, 2011 editorial


Volume 8, Number 2 •  February 2011


What’s Wrong with the Annual Meeting of Shareholders?
And . . . how do we fix it? Hit me with your best idea.

It seems that no one — management, boards, shareholders — is happy with how annual meetings are conducted these days.

Annual meetings can be a frustrating and often futile exercise — in meeting statutory requirements, yes, but not much else as a worthy vehicle for demonstrating corporate leadership and enhancing shareholder relations.

Thus, the cover story for the first Directors & Boards issue of 2011 will be: “What’s Wrong with the Annual Meeting . . . and How to Fix It.” It comes out later this month.

The seed of this idea was planted this past summer when I was a peripheral participant in a study group looking at "Electronic Participation in Shareholder Meetings" — i.e., the pros and cons of virtual annual meetings and the practices necessary to satisfy the needs of all parties. This group was organized by a close colleague, Gary Lutin, through The Shareholder Forum initiative that he chairs.

The virtual annual meeting will be a dimension of the discussion, and possibly factor in as a key fix. And there will be other fixes that we should focus on for recrafting the annual meeting for a coming governance era of heightened transparency and disclosure.

Perhaps you participated in the survey that we sent last month to our e-Briefing audience. The results of that survey will be presented in this cover story.

Whether you participated in the survey or not, I welcome you to hit me with your best idea — in 100 words or less — for what could and should be done to bring the annual meeting of shareholders into the 21st century. Email me at

Depending on editorial space, I will group the responses into a “The e-Briefing Readers Speak” sidebar piece of the cover story. Do it quickly, because the article is being wrapped up this first week of February.

And stay tuned. It should make for a lively Q1 issue of Directors & Boards, just as annual meeting season is about to blossom.

Jim Kristie is the editor and associate publisher of  Directors & Boards.

Directors & Boards e-Briefing is a monthly service of Directors & Boards. All contents copyright 2011, MLR Holdings LLC.




This Forum program is open, free of charge, to anyone concerned with investor interests in the development of standards for conducting shareholder meetings with electronic participation. As stated in the posted Conditions of Participation, the Forum's purpose is to provide decision-makers with access to information and a free exchange of views on the issues presented in the program's Forum Summary. Each participant is expected to make independent use of information obtained through the Forum, subject to the privacy rights of other participants.  It is a Forum rule that participants will not be identified or quoted without their explicit permission.

The organization of this Forum program was encouraged by Walden Asset Management, and is proceeding with the invited leadership support of Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. and Intel Corporation to address issues relevant to broad public interests in marketplace practices, rather than investor decisions relating to only a single company. The Forum may therefore invite program support of several companies that can provide both expertise and examples of leadership relating to the issues being addressed.

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