COVID-19 and Activism

From Sidley Austin: As the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold in the US in early March, it quickly became clear that the crisis would act as a “poison pill” that would sharply reduce shareholder activism in the spring. Initially, many activists were preoccupied with their own survival and/ or attracting new capital rather than launching…

Darden Restaurants — As You Sow

At As You Sow, Roseanna Weaver points out that the Darden board found a way to give the CEO a bonus even though COVID-19 has meant decreased revenues for the restaurant businesses. The Compensation Committee “approved modifications to the performance goals for fiscal 2020 annual incentives” because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lowering…

Two senators demand answers from Wells Fargo following NBC News reports

Citing a recent investigation by NBC News, two U.S. senators have asked the chief executive of Wells Fargo to answer extensive questions about the bank’s practice of pausing mortgage payments for borrowers without their consent under a federal program designed to help homeowners financially hurt by COVID-19. The senators, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Brian…

So, Maybe Not So Much on the Stakeholder Commitment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—following a lobbying offensive by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—recently announced that Senate Republicans’ top COVID-19 response priority is sweeping corporate immunity legislation that would make it nearly impossible to sue corporations for COVID-19-related legal claims by workers, consumers, or patients. Corporate immunity could give employers a free pass to flout worker…

HMRC confirms furlough scheme won’t cover dividends – Citywire

The government’s coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will not cover dividends, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed. Speaking to the Treasury committee today, Jim Harra, chief executive at HMRC, said dividends ‘will not qualify’ in the furlough scheme and company directors will only be able to claim 80% of their salaried wage. According to a…

U.S. firms shield CEO pay as pandemic hits workers, investors – Reuters

NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) – Sonic Automotive Inc (SAH.N), which operates 95 U.S. car dealerships, started laying off and furloughing about a third of its workforce as the coronavirus pandemic crushed its sales. Then it changed its executives’ pay packages – handing them a multimillion-dollar windfall. FILE PHOTO: Christopher Nassetta, the President and CEO of Hilton,…