NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Citigroup (C) shareholders' "stinging rebuke" of CEO Vikram Pandit's $15 million pay this week is a skirmish in a potentially precedent-setting war that some of the biggest institutional investors will be waging at annual meetings.
New York City and California state pension funds, among others, are expecting support for proposals that allow shareholders with a 3% stake (held for at least three years) to nominate board directors.
Large shareholders have been waiting for this chance for years. Boards are famous for indulging management and playing into CEOs' interests. A lawsuit brought by the Chamber of Commerce and others that was resolved in late 2011 -- which challenged the Securities and Exchange Commission over its attempt to implement a similar proposal on a market-wide basis -- has opened the door to challenges targeting individual companies.
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