CalPERS will be voting its 7.6 million shares against the re-election of nine of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s 15 board members at the company's June 1 annual meeting and is calling for an independent investigation into alleged bribery of Mexican officials by officials of Wal-Mart's Mexican subsidiary, confirmed Brad Pacheco, spokesman for the $229.4 billion retirement system.
The announcement on Wednesday by the California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, comes one day after officials of the $152.9 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, said CalSTRS would oppose re-election of all 15 Wal-Mart board members. CalSTRS has also filed lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington seeking corrective action over allegations that top executives had shut down an internal Wal-Mart investigation into allegations of bribery by officials of Wal-Mart's Mexican subsidiary in 2005 and that the Wal-Mart board failed to provide proper oversight.
CalPERS is taking a more selective approach in opposing nine of the 15 members, Mr. Pacheco wrote in an e-mail.
“We are withholding our votes from nine directors who were in a position of authority, oversight or management of Wal-Mart's business operations during the period in question around the bribery allegations as opposed to the entire board who consist of members who may have not had oversight,” Mr. Pacheco said.
CalPERS owns 7.601 million shares of Wal-Mart stock, about 0.22% of the company's total outstanding shares, according to an SEC filing.
Efforts to unseat board members may be difficult because the family of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton controls roughly half of the company's shares, according to regulatory filings.