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Shareholders Say No to Big Pay at Citigroup

Shareholders Say No to Big Pay at Citigroup

Even corporate shareholders are starting to get the message coming from the 99 percent. During Citigroup’s annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday, voters stood up against the proposed executive pay package, a first in the company’s history. About 55 percent of voting shareholders were against the plan that would give substantial amounts of money to its top five executives, including CEO Vikram Pandit.

The New York Times notes:

The shareholder vote, which comes amid a rising national debate over income inequality, suggests that anger over pay for chief executives has spread from Occupy Wall Street to wealthy institutional investors like pension fund and mutual fund managers.

Unfortunately, the vote is not binding, but retiring chairman, Richard Parsons, says that the board will take the vote seriously. Time will tell, but major investing firms are taking a stance as well.

“C.E.O.’s deserve good pay but there’s good pay and there’s obscene pay,” said Brian Wenzinger, a principal at Aronson Johnson Ortiz, a Philadelphia money management company that voted against the pay package. Mr. Wenzinger’s firm owns more than 5 million shares of Citigroup.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill mandates public companies to include a “say on pay” vote for shareholders. Conservatives and corporations tend to be against the reform bill.

“Citigroup was terribly managed and whatever could be done wrong, they did wrong,” said David Dreman, whose money management firm owns about $400,000 worth of Citigroup shares. While many of those mistakes predated Mr. Pandit, he said, it was way too early to start handing out generous pay packages. “Shareholders have finally done something constructive on the whole C.E.O. pay problem,” he said.

Pandit received $15 million in total compensation last year after taking $1 in pay during the financial crisis.

The question remains if more shareholder meetings will have similar results. Bank of America, who is also struggling, holds its annual meeting on May 9.

Interestingly, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s partner, Diana Taylor, sits on Citigroup’s board. That’s a real symbol of Occupy Wall Street and its allies’ fight against corporate greed, income inequality and the one percent’s ownership of democracy.

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19 comments

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11:35PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

YES!!!!!!!!

5:55PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

It's about time for this kind of action!

5:05PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

We have found our selves in a world that is being threatened by CEOs attempting to run it by infiltrating control over every aspect of our lives and governments. These are individuals that came to be where they are by virtue of their family lineage and privilege more than any other reason. Mr. Pandit for instance was born in India and his father was influential, he went to a prestigious high school and at 16 was sent to the US for higher education. He may be smart but expecting someone like this to understand being fair to the lower classes is foolish. Now ask your self how many of the people getting these huge salaries and bonuses are sons of prestigious fathers who helped them get started with all the right people. They have one primary motive and that is to make sure they continue to gain max profit with minimal investment. To do this the circle of beneficiaries must be maintained or even reduced to a small size.

Its a path to a dystopian future I really don't want to have to worry about.

3:27PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

They want the shareholders money but not their vote. It's time shareholders should really look at what their buck buys them.

1:48PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

Good start...good start....keep it going.

12:50PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

I agree with Lyn B!

11:54AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

Good for them. Wish more would do the same.

9:44AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

Impressive...

8:16AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

But...but...but...how will Shittigroup retain top talent.

The best thieves and GREEDmongering nincompoops on Wall Street can go to Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, Crdit Suisse, etc. and crash those banks if the board of directors doesn't give in to the CEO's demands for obscene pay.

7:49AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

I ALWAYS vote NO on the greedy overpaid bonus/increases on any companies own stocks in too.I

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