'Say on pay' gaining traction in corporate responsibility circles
Published: January 4, 2010
WASHINGTON (CNS) --The effort to give stockholders a "say on pay" -- determining the compensation packages of companies' top executives -- is gaining ground among those who track corporate responsibility issues. In 2009, 38 publicly traded companies said they would address compensation issues, according to Julie Tanner, assistant director of socially responsible investing for Christian Brothers Investment Services. Some of the stances were willing gestures by the companies involved. Other companies saw the writing on the wall regarding executive pay in a slumping economy and pledged to adjust pay packages. Still others resisted. At Cisco Systems, the technology corporation, shareholders forced a vote on the issue for the second year in a row, but prevailed in 2009, garnering 51.4 percent of all shares voted. The issue has also picked up steam in Washington, where government officials rescued financial firms through its Troubled Assets Relief Program, and joined the outcry when some of the bailed-out firms were still producing hefty bonus packages for its top executives. In a Dec. 30 telephone interview with Catholic News Service from Christian Brothers Investment Service headquarters in New York, Tanner said public pressure sometimes leads companies to do the right thing.
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