Bank of America made a surprise move Monday in saying it will give shareholders a vote on the board’s decision last fall to recombine its chairman and CEO roles. The vote announcement was unexpected, because the bank just two months ago had strongly defended the recombination in its proxy filing.
Here’s a quick look at some of the mixed reaction Monday’s announcement received:
▪ “Coming only two days before this year’s annual meeting, it remains to be seen whether the board’s gesture will be enough to pacify disgruntled and vocal investors.” –Glass, Lewis & Co., a proxy advisory firm
▪ “The board’s reversal of its previous stance – that it alone should decide this – risks creating the impression it regards the chairmanship as little more than an executive bonus.” –John Carney, Wall Street Journal reporter
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▪ “Today’s announcement by Bank of America is a welcome step and a sign that the company is responsive to its shareowners.” –New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer
▪ “In hindsight, Bank of America seems to acknowledge that its decision last October to appoint CEO Brian Moynihan to the chairman of the bank’s board of directors was overly hasty.” –John Maxfield, writer for The Motley Fool
▪ “BofA moves to head off investor rebellion” –headline on The Financial Times’ website
▪ “If I understand the proposal that will be forthcoming, we will vote against the board’s amendment that combined the CEO and chairman position.” –Jonathan Finger, partner with Houston-based Finger Interests, which owns about 900,000 Bank of America shares
▪ “CalSTRS commends the Bank of America board of directors for recognizing the importance of having shareholders ratify the recombination of the chair and CEO positions, especially since it was a shareholder decision to separate them as a binding proposal – which is a very rare occurrence.” –California State Teachers’ Retirement System