Feb. 20--Express Scripts won a court order this week allowing it to ignore a stockholder proposal that would have required separating the jobs of chairman and chief executive.
John Chevedden, an investor activist who lives in Redondo Beach, Calif., had sought to have his proposal put to a vote at Express Scripts' annual meeting in May. The company claimed that his proposal contained false and misleading statements, including an assertion that George Paz, its chairman and CEO, received $51 million in compensation. Paz's total pay for 2012 was $12.75 million.
Express Scripts filed suit on Dec. 18 asking for permission to exclude the proposal from its annual meeting ballot, and U.S. District Judge John Ross granted that request in an order issued Tuesday.
According to a Reuters profile written last year, Chevedden placed more than 100 proposals on company ballots in the last two years. In 2012, he sponsored a proposal at Express Scripts urging that shareholders be allowed to take actions by written consent, without holding a meeting. That proposal got 55 percent of the vote.
According to Reuters, Chevedden operates on "a shoestring budget" and targets "deep-in-the-weeds details of corporate governance."
The issue he was pursuing at Express Scripts this year -- separating the jobs of chairman and chief executive -- was contested at 58 Russell 3000 companies last year and approved at five of them, according to the PwC Center for Board Governance. The average such proposal got 31 percent shareholder support.
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