In Gretchen Morgenson's article "Inciting a Revolution: The Investor Spring" (The New York Times, June 5, 2011) she tells the story of an investor who was disillusioned with shareholder returns relative to management pay packages. The investor, a retired CEO from a major advertising agency, reasoned that if social media could be used to topple regimes in the Middle East, it could also be used to help disenfranchised investors.
The retired CEO started a website for like-minded investors who owned shares of a pharmaceutical company. The website encouraged investors to vote as a block against the company's pay practices and for all of the directors up for election. The company's annual meeting is not until June 15, but it's taking notice of this group of feisty investors.
We developed the 2020 Women on Boards website to build a groundswell of support for getting more women on public company boards. The counter on our website indicates the number of people who support the 2020 initiative. We reached over 1,000 supporters as the campaign celebrated its 6-month anniversary on June 1st.
Numbers talk. As the number of people who support the Women on Boards campaign increases we expect that the companies will feel the heat and diversify their boards. The most effective way for this to happen is for shareholders aligned with our mission to vote their proxies.
The 2011 proxy season is coming to a close. You can be sure that the 2020 campaign will begin to identify diversity resolutions during the 2012 proxy season. As for now, watch our list of W companies grow, and be on the lookout for the Z list coming in January.