Institutional investors will likely be back next year with a new effort to exert more influence on Goldman Sachs (GS) board after a large minority of shareholders voted Friday to separate the role of chairman and CEO at the bank.
Roughly 30% of voting shares at the mega-bank voted against CEO Lloyd Blankfein retaining both positions -- not enough to convince Goldman to split the role but a substantial enough number to raise serious questions about shareholder relations at the bank in the coming months. In addition, 33% of voting shares opposed the company's executive compensation plans, including that of Blankfein, also putting a negative spotlight on the company's executive pay practices.
James McRitchie, a prominent investor gadfly, submitted the proposal to split the chairman and CEO role at Goldman Sachs. McRitchie said the result of the two votes shows that there is a lot of dissatisfaction with Goldman Sachs, adding that major public pension funds voted for his proposal to separate its CEO and Chairman position. Large public pension funds, who have sought to put a spotlight on concerns around the dual rule, will likely be back next year to support another proposal to break up the chairman and CEO role, he said.
Goldman, which has a $62 billion market capitalization, has returned to the spotlight lately after Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders put a spotlight on the relationship between his rival Hillary Clinton and the large bank. Sanders, the senator from Vermont, has demanded that Clinton, the former secretary of state, release transcripts of paid speeches she gave Goldman Sachs, including one she made in October 2013 to bankers at a summit in Arizona for a $225,000 fee.