WHO: Matt Walker, 36
WHAT: Director of research and education
WHERE: Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, Washington
WHEN: Began labor movement work in 1987 at Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. Joined HERE in 1988 as research analyst, was promoted to his current position two years ago. Oversees a staff of 25 union researchers.
WHY: Spearheaded pioneering proxy campaign this year preventing Marriott International from splitting stock into two classes with different voting rights. Three-month fight forced separate vote on the issue at the annual meeting. Hopes to build similar future alliances.
"That proposal probably would have passed if Matt hadn't spotlighted the corporate governance concerns there. I think his campaign was a prototype for activism in the future," said Pat McGurn, director of corporate programs, Institutional Shareholder Services.
Anne Hansen, deputy director, Council for Institutional Investors, agreed, calling Mr. Walker a "pioneer for the shareholder rights movement and particularly labor shareholders. He really persisted in a situation that wasn't a sure thing."