Friday, May 27, 2016

Legacy Schering-Plough Comp. Committee Chair Once Again (5 Years Running!) Received Fewest "Yes" Votes -- Saw Highest "No" Votes -- At Merck's Annual Shareholders' Meeting

On this sleepy Friday, we will post a little historical SP trivia -- but with an on-going echo.

To be clear, Ms. Russo was soundly re-elected, once again this year. And in truth, there is no way to know what drives her long-running, very-high negative votes. I have long-posited that it was her service as Compensation Chair at legacy Schering-Plough, when "Fast" Fred Hassan walked away with over $235 million, for what was roundly, and nearly universally, later decided to be atrocious performance as CEO. Others might attribute the negatives to her stint on the GM board (not exactly a shining-chromed ride) -- or her time at Acatel/Lucent. Who knows?

What is clear is that she persistently receives almost 20 million fewer "yes" votes, and 20 million more "no" votes, than the penultimate least-favored candidate (Mr. Weeks). [It would seem that at least one large institutional holder has chosen to vote against her, consistently. Might it be a union pension fund, from the GM days? Who knows? She does draw high negative votes at GM, as well -- among all the management-supported nominees.] From the just filed SEC Form 8-K:

. . . .Patricia F. Russo | For: 1,909,957,906 | Against: 124,361,135. . . .

Back in 2013, she saw almost 200 million more "no" votes than any other candidate, but this at least 20 million share negative gap has been persistent for five solid years, now. Obviously, a slow news Friday (if this sort of trivia is what I am covering!), going into a long holiday weekend. And. . . I just checked, she draws high negatives at Alcoa -- but not so much at HP, her current "primary" engagement. Fascinating.

In unrelated news (likely accelerating the continuing price wars in Hep C), Kenilworth did see a positive CHMP regulatory opinion -- in Europe, for its Zepatier® (a second to market, lower priced competitor to Gilead's Sovaldi®). Do enjoy the rest -- and warm moist air. . . smile. . . .

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