US - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has singled out four companies for poor market and corporate governance performance.
CalPERS board president Rob Feckner said: "In today's current economic environment, no company should resist strengthening their corporate governance, but these four companies did."
CalPERS said it cited Eli Lilly because it continued to deny shareowners any opportunity to amend bylaws - a restriction used by only 4% of S&P 500 companies.
This year, the pension fund said it was seeking shareowner support for a resolution to overturn the bylaw amendment provision at the company's scheduled annual meeting on 20 April 2009.
As for Hill-Rom Holdings CalPERS said it objected to the company's refusal to remove its staggered board structure and to allow shareowners to amend its bylaws.
In addition, the fund said it would bring a shareowner resolution against Hospitality Properties Trust at the company's scheduled annual meeting on 15 May 2009.
It added it would propose termination of its "classified" board where directors serve staggered terms rather than standing for election each year.
According to CalPERS, IMS Health underperformed peers in the health care services field by 63% over five years. It also cited its denial of the right of shareowners to call a special meeting and/or act by written consent and to adopt annual nonbinding advisory votes on executive compensation practices.
CalPERS investment committee chair George Diehr said: "Placing these companies on the Focus List and bringing shareowner resolutions against them in some cases are last resorts for us.
"We much prefer engaging them first to achieve better alignment with management, boards and investors and set the table for improved share value over time."
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