General Mills shareholders to get limited say on pay

General Mills will allow shareholders a non-binding vote on executive compensation every other year, starting at its annual meeting scheduled for September, according to a company statement.

At the company’s annual meeting Sept. 21, 2009, shareholders voted 51% in favor of a non-binding shareholder proposal calling for an annual say on pay. Walden Asset Management sponsored the proposal, said Kirstie Foster, General Mills spokeswoman.

She said a say-on-pay vote every two years would provide investors "the input they desire" and give company executives enough time to "engage" investors and discuss concerns.

"We want to be responsive to investors on the vote of the 2009 meeting” in favor of the proposal, Ms. Foster said in an interview. “We meet directly with stockholders throughout the year and we will continue to do so.”

Timothy Smith, Walden senior vice president, said the firm is pleased by the outcome and believes federal legislation will be adopted possibly this year to require all companies to have an annual say-on-pay vote. Financial regulatory overhaul legislation introduced by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, includes an annual say on pay.