Every spring, corporate chieftains and their boards squash uprisings from a familiar batch of pugnacious investors, a ritual that shields many companies from major change.
This proxy season was different. In recent weeks, chief executives and directors have gone up against a more formidable foe than the typical corporate gadfly: the mainstream investor.
It is the changing face of shareholder activism . While proxy season has long been the domain of labor unions and activist investors with large personalities and forceful demands, increasingly it is mutual funds and other more tempered institutional shareholders who are criticizing lavish pay packages and questioning corporate governance .
Emboldened by new regulations — and angered by laggard stock performance and recent scandals — this new crop of activists is voting down company policies and backing proposals to reform corporate boards. The movement has already stung a variety of companies, including Citigroup , Goldman Sachs and Wal-Mart .Page 1 of 8 | Next Page