MetLife Inc. shareholders will be able to use corporate proxy materials to nominate up to 20% of the company’s board of directors starting at the next annual meeting under proxy-access bylaw amendments the board adopted, the company announced Tuesday.
To be eligible, a shareholder or a group of up to 20 shareholders must own at least 3% of MetLife stock continuously for at least three years.
Vanguard Group, with 7.2% of the shares, and BlackRock, with 6.8% of the shares, are MetLife’s largest institutional investor shareholders, according to the company’s proxy statement filed March 23. MetLife Policyholder Trust, a legacy of the company’s conversion to stock ownership from a mutual insurance company, is the largest shareholder, holding 16% of the stock.
With the MetLife board made up of 12 members, the proxy access amendments enable shareholders to nominate two members.
“MetLife is pleased to proactively enact proxy access for our shareholders,” said Cheryl W. Grise, lead director, in a news release. “This decision by the board is the result of our ongoing commitment to governance best practices and responsiveness to our shareholders.”
MetLife spokesman John Calagna said in an e-mail the move “was not the result of any shareholder planning to introduce such a proposal.”
MetLife has not had any proxy-access proposals in its proxy statements going back at least three years. Its annual meeting is scheduled for June 14, Mr. Calagna said.