From the 2007 News Archive
Breakfast Discussion of "Majority Voting: Meaningful Voice for Shareholders or a Pandora's Box?"
The University of Maryland School of Law’s Business Law Program
invites law school alumni and friends to the April 27 breakfast forum "Majority Voting: Meaningful Voice for Shareholders or a Pandora’s Box?" as two industry experts discuss one of the hottest topics in the area of corporate governance – majority voting.
Professor Lisa Fairfax
will moderate a panel discussion featuring Patrick McGurn, Executive Vice President and Special Counsel of Institutional Shareholder Services
and a leading national expert on corporate governance issues, and Christopher Johnson
of Miles & Stockbridge, an expert in corporate and securities law.
In the wake of the collapse of companies such as Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia and others, majority voting has become the focus of reform efforts to provide shareholders a more meaningful voice in shaping corporate boards.
Under most state corporate laws a plurality vote is the default standard in the election of the board of directors. Under the majority vote standard a director nominee would have to receive support from holders of a majority of votes cast in order to be elected or re-elected to the board. Initially often referred to as a controversial activist-driven governance practice, majority voting has been sweeping the corporate world, quickly becoming a mainstream governance standard. Today, over 52% of the companies in the S&P 500 have adopted a majority vote policy compared to 20% one year ago.
But will majority voting really bring more democracy to director elections or will it create more problems than it fixes? Opponents of majority voting cite its potentially destabilizing impact on the board, its deterring effect on qualified people willing to run for director positions, and its potential for sacrificing the symbolic power of withhold votes.
The breakfast and panel, free and open to the public, will he held in the School of Law’s Krongard Board Room from 8-10 a.m.
To RSVP, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 410-706-2070.