Target shareholders vote results: Board members see drop in support


Earlier this week, all 10 members of Target’s board of directors were re-elected at the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

But on Friday, Target released the voting results – and the numbers seem to demonstrate a level of frustration among shareholders.

Only three of the board members received more than 90 percent support (full results can be seen at right) – and as MPR News said, support from fewer than 90 percent of shareholders is typically seen as a sign of investor discontent. No other board member got more than 81 percent, and two hit percentages in the low 60s.

The Pioneer Press dug into the numbers a bit more, calling their re-election margins "significantly lower" than in 2013.

Among the most dramatic shifts came with Roxanne Austin, whose support plummeted from 95 percent to 78 percent; and James Johnson, who faced opposition from just 13 percent a year ago, but now faces more than 37 percent, the Pioneer Press notes.

Despite the drop in support, the directors were all voted to stay on the board despite the an outside firm's commendation that seven of the 10 board members be kicked off.

Institutional Shareholder Services maintained the seven board members who served on Target’s audit and corporate responsibility committees should not be retained because they failed to recognize potential threats to the security of customer data.

Forty million Target shoppers had their credit and debit card numbers stolen by hackers in a security breach that could cost the retailer $1 billion once dozens of lawsuits are settled. In addition to the data breach, the Minneapolis-based retailer has absorbed losses at its newly opened Canadian stores and sales in the U.S. have been sluggish.

The company is also searching for a new CEO after Gregg Steinhafel was pushed out last month. Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan is currently filling in as CEO.

At the 2014 meeting, the shareholders also voted on Target's executive compensation, approving it on a non-binding basis 77.9 percent to 22.1 percent. The Business Journal notes that approval came after the ousted Steinhafel earned about $13 million last year, and another $15.9 million to leave last month.

Shareholders did not approve a non-binding proposal to institute a policy "prohibiting discrimination 'against' or 'for' persons."

The Pioneer Press says the number of votes represented ballots from about 557 million shares – 88 percent of the total outstanding shares.

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