Tuesday, 3 July 2007

US union investor group dislodges CVS/Caremark director

I blogged a while back about the Change to Win campaign against Roger Headrick. Having provoked a significant shareholder rebellion against Headrick, the CtW Investment Group had called for him to step down. And now they've finally got their man -

July 3: CtW Investment Group Statement on CVS/Caremark director Headrick’s resignation

Last night, CVS/Caremark shareholders succeeded in removing embattled director Roger Headrick from the company’s board of directors and, in so doing, holding him accountable for his past failures to protect Caremark shareholders. As lead independent director and audit committee chair at Caremark, Mr. Headrick bears principal responsibility for approving a sweetheart deal with CVS that nearly cost shareholders $3.3 billion and for the ongoing DOJ and SEC investigations into possible stock option backdating.

Mr. Headrick’s resignation required extraordinary efforts after the CVS/Caremark board initially failed to respect the shareholder vote in its May 9 director election. In addition to communications from major institutional shareholders—including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. and North Carolina State Treasurer Richard H. Moore—members of the House Committee on Financial Services questioned SEC Chairman Christopher Cox regarding the impact of the broker vote on Mr. Headrick’s tainted election during last Tuesday’s hearing on investor protection and market oversight.

The adoption of majority vote standards in director elections by hundreds of companies, including CVS/Caremark, should finally make director elections meaningful. The extraordinary measures required to remove Mr. Headrick, however, underscore the need for swift SEC approval of the NYSE proposal to eliminate the broker vote in all director elections to ensure their integrity going forward.

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