2015 Proxy Season Preview (April 2015)

This year’s annual meeting season presents a variety of challenges for issuers. Foremost is a sweeping campaign spearheaded by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer advocating proxy access rights, which would allow eligible shareholders to include their own board nominees in company proxy statements. While this will be the pivotal issue of 2015, the proponents expect proxy access to be a multi-year campaign with an expanding focus list of corporate targets. As an added impetus, SEC Chair Mary Jo White recently announced that the Commission will not resurrect a universal proxy access rule after its rulemaking effort five years ago was voided by a U.S. appeals court.