What is in this article?:
- McDonald's defends practices at shareholder meeting
- Concerns from communities of color
McDonald's executives spent much of the meeting defending the company's marketing practices and supply chain policies to activist stakeholders.
Shareholders ofCorp. met Thursday at the company’s Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters and rejected activist stakeholders’ calls for annual reports on executive compensation and the company's impact on nutrition and human rights.
The company’s leadership, including chief executive Don Thompson, chief financial officer Pete Bensen and chief operating officer Tim Fenton, detailed several key points from McDonald’s stated projections for system growth and the company’s ongoing Plan to Win. However, as is often the case with McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting, the brand’s executives spent much of the meeting defending the chain’s marketing practices and supply chain policies from the criticisms of certain shareholders.
McDonald’s shareholders approved by a wide margin the company’s proposals of electing all its candidates to the board of directors, as well as the board’s compensation plan and the nomination of Ernst & Young as McDonald’s independent auditor for 2013.
Four shareholder proposals were roundly rejected, including a call for McDonald’s to report annually the ratio between the total compensation for the chief executive and the lowest-paid full-time crew member, proposed by The Marco Consulting Group Trust. A measure proposing that McDonald’s executives hold on to at least 25 percent of company shares they receive as equity compensation until retirement age also failed.
In addition, more than 70 percent of shareholders voted against a proposal requiring an annual report of McDonald’s Corp.’s impact on human rights around the world. The proposal to require an annual report on the brand’s nutrition policies and the impact they have on public health, namely obesity, garnered only 6.3 percent of shareholders voting in favor.
In a statement following the meeting, the last proposal’s sponsor, Corporate Accountability International, called the vote “an impressive showing, considering the board’s opposition.”
“The vote comes as mounting public pressure, local food policies and sagging sales conspire to dampen McDonald’s prospects if it doesn’t change course in responding to today’s epidemic of diet-related disease — an epidemic advocates of the resolution say is being driven in large part by the burger giant,” Corporate Accountability wrote.
During the meeting, Thompson responded that the reality of McDonald’s adding more fruit and vegetables to its menu, complying with voluntary guidelines for marketing to children and supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities did not match the pressure group’s depiction of the company as an irresponsible corporate citizen.
“As we talked about last year, we provide high-quality food and always have,” he said. “It’s real beef, tomatoes, eggs and dairy, and we do it in a way that’s also affordable. I’ll make the same comment I made last year: Of our 1.8 million employees, many of them are parents. If any of us believed we were hurting our own children, we wouldn’t work at McDonald’s.”