Thermo Fisher-Calling Special Shareholder Meetings
RESOLVED: The shareholders of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (”TMO” or “Company”) hereby request the Board of Directors take the steps necessary to amend our bylaws and each appropriate governing document to give holders with an aggregate of 15% net long of our outstanding common stock the power to call a special shareowner meeting. This proposal does not impact our Board’s current power to call a special meeting.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: Our Company only allows the Board of Directors, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, or the Chief Executive Officer to call a special meeting, whereas Delaware law provisions allow shareholders holding 10% of outstanding shareholder to call such meetings. A meaningful shareholder right to call a special meeting is a way to bring an important matter to the attention of both management and shareholders outside the annual meeting cycle. This is important because there could be 15-months between annual meetings.
Currently, 66.6% of S&P 500 companies allow shareholders to call a special meeting. Well over half of S&P 1500 companies also allow shareholders this right.
According to Proxy Insight’s “Resolution Tracker,” between August 2019 and June 2020 the topic of providing shareholders a right to call a special meeting won 57.5% at Electronic Arts, 70.2% at Sonoco Products, 52.3% at Verizon Communications, 97.3% at SPAR Group, and 78.9% at FleetCor Technologies.
Large funds such as Vanguard, TIAA-CREF, BlackRock and SSgA Funds Management, Inc. (State Street) support the right of shareholders to call special meetings. For example, BlackRock includes the following in its proxy voting guidelines: “[S]hareholders should have the right to call a special meeting...”
We urge the Board to join the mainstream of major U.S. companies and establish a right for shareholders owning 15% of our outstanding common stock to call a special meeting.