Yahoo! Shareholder Reveals Shareholder Meeting Intricacies

"I attended Yahoo's Annual Shareholder meeting on June 24, 2010 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, California. About 35 non-employee shareholders and 50 Yahoo employees attended. What a change! No media circus, no hoopla about Icahn's or Microsoft's intentions, and no ill-advised grandstanding by Bostock--just a normal, professional annual meeting. In short, Carol Bartz is simply amazing. She has taken Yahoo from seemingly endless PR disasters to instant credibility. Even Bostock--whose dithering I despise--seems tolerable next to Bartz. In fact, "to dither"--which means, "to be nervously irresolute in acting or doing"--seemed to be Yahoo's motif before Bartz.

Bostock (pronounced, "Bah-stock") opened the meeting by introducing Yahoo's Board of Directors and Executive team. (I was happy to see Brad Smith, Intuit's CEO and Yahoo Board member, at the meeting. Intuit's consistent ability to deliver strong products makes it an excellent partner to have.) Bostock said that Bartz had acted "decisively" and the Yahoo team had "made enormous progress." He turned the podium over to Yahoo's general counsel, who handled the formal portion of the meeting.

Yahoo's general counsel did a fantastic job. After hearing Responsible Wealth's representative Lincoln Pain introduce a shareholder proposal ("Say on Pay"), Yahoo opened the floor for comments on the proposal, limiting statements to two minutes. Yahoo's approach to shareholder proposal comments creates a good balance between too much information and too little information. Too many companies won't allow shareholders to comment on proposals or go the other direction and allow shareholders unlimited time. [...]"

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