Shareholders for Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR:US), the world’s largest land-drilling contractor, approved a “proxy access” proposal that would give owners of the stock greater power to nominate their own board candidates.
The proposal, which needed a majority of shares voted, passed, Denny Smith, a spokesman for the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company, said today in an e-mail. Nabors will issue a federal filing with details of the vote “within the required time,” he wrote.
The proposal, which was submitted by several New York City retirement and pension funds, was voted on by shareholders at today’s annual meeting in Bermuda. It was supported by funds in California, Connecticut and Maryland.
“The significance of today’s majority vote for proxy access at Nabors is about much more than an historically unaccountable board that failed to rein in the excesses of an overpaid CEO,” John C. Liu, New York City comptroller, said in an e-mailed statement. “It serves as irrefutable evidence that the investment community wants reasonable proxy access rights for substantial, long-term shareowners.”
The company announced in February that former Chief Executive Officer Eugene Isenberg forfeited his rights to a $100 million payment in connection with him being replaced, and also said he would resign as chairman this month. The estate of Isenberg, who served as CEO for 24 years, will collect $6.6 million plus interest upon his death.
The New York City comptroller’s office said in the e-mail this was the first-ever majority support for a proxy access proposal at a major company.
A shareholder can qualify to nominate a board member if he owns at least 3 percent of the stock for at least three years, according to the proposal.
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