Nominating Committee's Repeated Failure to Recruit Independent Directors & Mismanagement of Murdoch Scandal Taint Credibility
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In a letter to Sotheby's (NYSE: BID) shareholders, the CtW Investment Group called on them to oppose the re-election of the incumbent members of the Nominating and Governance Committee. Chairman Michael I. Sovern, Allen Questrom, and Diana L. Taylor, should be opposed for their failure to recruit independent, credible directors and for the mismanagement of the James Murdoch scandal.
The Group's letter points out that four of the last six director nominees have been handpicked by the CEO, including Diana Taylor who currently sits on the nominating committee, while the latest appointee, Steven B. Dodge, is a former director dating back to the firm's days as a controlled company.
"The Sotheby's board's failure to take decisive action shows how little has changed since the elimination of the dual class voting structure and controlling insider interest seven years ago," stated Richard Clayton, CtW Research Director. "This is particularly alarming given Sotheby's track record with previously sullied board members."
Additionally, the Group called on shareholders to take action against the directors for their gross mismanagement of the James Murdoch scandal.
"Sotheby's directors were passive bystanders to a slow motion train wreck," continued Clayton. "They sat by and let former director James Murdoch voluntarily step down on the eve of the proxy statement's publication despite a mass outcry for his removal from investors and widespread media commentary on his increasingly tenuous position. Shareholders are tired of seeing the company's name in the press for the wrong reasons."
To see the full letter to Sotheby's shareholders click HERE.
Recently, James Murdoch stepped down from the boards of GlaxoSmithKlein plc and Sotheby's and resigned as Executive Chairman of News International and as Chairman of BSkyB, where more than 40 percent of the company's independent shareholders failed to back his re-election. In the fallout from the hacking scandal at the News of the World, Murdoch also received a resounding vote of no confidence from shareholders at News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWSA) last October, with over 70 percent of independent shareholders voting against his re-election to the board.
The CtW Investment Group works with pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with Change to Win, which collectively hold over $200 billion in assets. The Group first raised concerns with Sotheby's nominating process last fall with calls on the Nominating and Governance Committee to take decisive action regarding James Murdoch.
SOURCE CtW Investment Group