Walmart holds no-frill shareholder business meeting

Shareholders elected all 11 candidates to the board for a term of one year. (Courtesy Talk Business & Politics)

ROGERS, Ark. (Talk Business & Politics) – For the first time in decades, Walmart held a no-frill shareholder meeting to conduct the formal business of electing directors and approving shareholder proposals.

Appearing much like the annual meetings of J.B. Hunt Transport and Tyson Foods in a long room with a few dozen chairs partially filled by shareholders, the event was held at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center at 10 a.m. Wednesday and lasted a total of 20 minutes.

The board, including CEO Doug McMillon, sat at the front of the room. There was no entertainment but the company presented a short video to begin the meeting that highlighted some of the accomplishments from the previous year.

Board Chair Greg Penner called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m and said the new meeting format was about being more efficient with time, a practice also used by the board and the retail giant. Penner said the board has optimized the number of director seats to be more nimble in decision-making, and said seven of the 11 directors are deemed independent.

Shareholders elected all 11 candidates to the board for a term of one year. New to the board this year are Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s, and Sarah Friar, CEO of Square, who was elected for the first time following appointment to a partial year term. Steve Reinemund, former CEO of PepsiCo, was re-elected to the board, but was not present at Wednesday’s meeting.

Tom Horton, retired CEO of American Airlines, was named lead director as Dr. James Cash is exiting the board. Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram, also exited the board to focus more on his growing company. The other directors elected by a majority vote were Tim Flynn, Carla Harris, Marissa Mayer, Doug McMillon, Greg Penner, Rob Walton and Steuart Walton.

Shareholders also approved the ratification of Ernst & Young as the company’s independent auditors as well as the advisory vote to approve executive compensation for top earners at Walmart. The proposal allows the board to oversee the performance-based pay scale used by Walmart management.

There were three shareholder proposals presented that were not supported by the Walmart Board and management. None of the three shareholder proposals passed according to the preliminary vote count, according to Penner. The official results will be reported this week and filed with federal regulators. The Walton family controls roughly 50 percent of the voting of the stock, which classifies Walmart Inc. a controlled company.

Click here for the full report on the meeting.

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