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Although 2009 was more notable for legislative and regulatory corporate governance initiatives than for shareholder activism, the recently concluded proxy season produced several potentially significant results. As might be expected, executive compensation issues attracted a large number of shareholder proposals and a significant degree of shareholder support. In the general category of corporate governance, a few topics appeared to be increasingly popular with shareholders: the right to call special meetings, the majority election of directors and independent board chairmanship. Overall, shareholders focused on many of the same issues as did Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the last year. In light of the fact that the majority of legislative and regulatory initiatives proposed in 2009 will be pending through the beginning of 2010, a number of important variables remain unknown for next year’s proxy season.

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