The Associated Press
April 22, 2010, 12:53PM ET
J&J shareholders reject 'say on
Shareholders of health care
giant Johnson & Johnson on Thursday narrowly rejected a proposal to give
themselves a "say on pay" of top executives, but the vote results may not
The close vote -- 52 percent
against it and 48 percent for -- was on a proposal to give stockholders an
advisory vote on compensation of top executives.
J&J Chief Executive William
Weldon said that because the preliminary vote was so close, it is possible
that the final tally, including votes cast at the meeting, could change.
Most shareholders, including
large institutional investors, cast votes in advance of annual meetings
electronically or by mail. A final result will be reported next week.
The "say on pay" issue has
been a hot one in recent years as shareholders of many major corporations,
concerned about the number of executives getting compensation packages
exceeding $10 million a year, have pushed for some voice in executive
compensation -- and in some cases, gotten it.
J&J shareholders also
rejected a proposal to reduce the percentage of shares needed to call a
special meeting, on a vote of 63 percent against and 37 percent for the
The votes came at an annual
meeting in the company's headquarters town, New Brunswick, N.J., with
shareholders packed into a hotel auditorium and three overflow rooms.
Weldon told the crowd that
the company had come through a very difficult year but had met many of its
goals, including launching important new products, focusing sales efforts
on fast-growing markets in emerging companies and increasing productivity
by starting a restructuring program. The company plans to eliminate about
8,000 jobs worldwide.
"We continue to deliver
solid financial results," Weldon said. "Our people still managed to hold
operational sales steady, improve profitability and move innovations into
He also announced J&J has
raised its quarterly dividend to 54 cents from 49 cents. The change
increases the company's annual dividend to $2.16 from $1.96.
In early afternoon trading,
J&J shares were down 90 cents at $64.49.