BP PLC shareholders voted to adopt all the proxy proposals at the company’s annual meeting Thursday in London, said spokesman David Nicholas.
Shareholders voted 95.45% in favor of BP’s performance accounts and reports, and 74.66% in favor of re-electing as a director Sir William Castell, who as chairman of the company’s safety, ethics and environment assurance committee was the focus of investor fury regarding BP’s oil-rig disaster and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. He received the lowest vote in favor of any director or of any proxy issue, Mr. Nicholas said.
The $234.7 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento, and the $156.8 billion Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee, opposed BP performance accounts and reports, and the re-election of Mr. Castell.
Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP’s chairman, won re-election with 92.9% of the vote. He was supported by CalPERS and the FSBA.
Among other issues, shareholders adopted the company’s remuneration report on executive and director compensation; a proposal allowing the company to call a special meeting with 14 days’ notice, shortened from 21 days; and a proposal authorizing BP to make political donations and expenditures. Mr. Nicholas said vote tallies on these other proposals were not immediately available.
CalPERS and the FSBA supported the company’s remuneration report and proposal for political donations, but both opposed the shortening of the special meeting notice.
Julie Tanner, assistant director of socially responsible investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services, who attended the meeting, said in a statement, “As demonstrated by the weak vote for (Mr.) Castell, investors obviously have serious doubts about the effectiveness of the safety, ethics and environmental assurance committee. I was heartened by CEO Bob Dudley’s commitment at the annual meeting to try to find an independent expert to oversee the implementation of the recommendations made in the Deepwater Horizon accident investigation report.”
“It is clear from their corporate reports that BP has been very active following this disaster,” Mark Regier, director of stewardship investing at Everence Financial and the MMA Praxis Mutual Funds, said in the statement. “Much less clear are the ultimate goals, measures and real-world implications of these activities. This is critical information shareholders — and all stakeholders — need to know.”
Christian Brothers Investment Services, MMA Praxis Mutual Funds and other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility were part of an international coalition of investors that voted against BP’s performance accounts and reports in response to the company’s failure to address a variety of issues, including how the company’s safety and risk management function has been strengthened.