The Illinois State Board of Investment trustees authorized staff to take whatever action it can to reform corporate governance at Safeway Inc., because of its poor stock performance. William Atwood, executive director of the $10.5 billion, Chicago-based fund, said ISBI will help lead an effort by public pension funds for reforms, including greater board independence. The move is an exception to the board's proxy voting policy, which normally votes with management, he said.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Washington, is also encouraging the formation of a coalition among its members who are trustees or participants of public pension funds to address corporate governance complaints with the company, focusing on the role of Steven A. Burd, Safeway chairman and CEO.
"(Mr.) Burd has been a failed leader," Mr. Ferlauto said. Under him, "the company lost value, went on an acquisition strategy that failed, and has been slow to modernize stores."
The Safeway annual meeting is May 20. Safeway officials couldn't be reached for comment.