Proxy Season Preview (April 2020)

In only a few months’ time, the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has upended the global economy, sending stock markets tumbling, disrupting supply chains and bringing many key sectors of business activity to a near standstill. The sudden emergence of the pandemic and full-scale mitigation response will shift the tone of spring annual meetings to near-term imperatives: business continuity plans; financial resource needs; measures to protect employees, customers and supply chains; and preparedness for the anticipated recovery.With most shareholder gatherings relegated to cyberspace, it will be a quieter proxy season, lacking in protests and in-person face-offs. However, the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues raised by shareholders will extend well beyond the current crisis to companies’ positioning for long-term sustainability.Trends to watch are chronicled in our April 2020 newsletter, which may be downloaded at the link below.