McDonald’s wins Icahn proxy vote as shareholders approve board slate
The list of 12 members of the board of directors of McDonald’s Corp. was approved in a vote count provided by the proxy attorney, the company said Thursday, with shareholders rejecting two board members nominated by activist investor Carl Icahn.
In a statement, the Chicago-based burger brand thanked its shareholders for re-electing its management-prepared slate, despite Icahn’s efforts to elect two board members on animal welfare and other issues.
Enrique Hernandez Jr., chairman of McDonald’s board of directors, told the shareholders meeting in remarks provided by McDonald’s that Barberry Corp., an investment company affiliated with Icahn, had been offered a chance to support its nominations at the shareholders’ meeting.
“Mr. Icahn was invited and had time to speak about his nominations at today’s meeting, but declined two days ago,” Hernandez said.
In April, Icahn said McDonald’s had publicly promised 10 years ago that by 2022 the company would responsibly source pork from suppliers who do not use gestation crates. However, the company extended the deadline and Icahn said the board needed independent directors to advance environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.
In its Thursday statement, McDonald’s said the company is “committed to remaining a leader in ESG initiatives, including animal welfare. Its approach is driven by meaningful impact in the communities it serves.” while meeting customer needs. Going forward, the McDonald’s Board of Directors and leadership team remain focused on pursuing actions that uphold and advance our values while committed to serving the interests of all our shareholders.
McDonald’s-backed directors who have been re-elected include Hernandez as well as: Lloyd Dean; Robert Eckert; Catherine Engelbert; Margaret Georgiadis; current McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski; Richard Lenny; John Mulligan; Sheila Penrose; John. Rogers Jr.; Paul Walsh; and Miles White.
“Preliminary results also indicate that Mr. Icahn’s two nominees received approximately 1% of the company’s outstanding shares,” the company said.
Hernandez also commented on McDonald’s exit from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, after the company said last week it would sell its more than 800 restaurants there to existing licensee Alexander Govor. The buyer would reopen the restaurants under a new brand, the company said.
“In our 67-year history, this was the first time we’ve divested our business in a major market,” Hernandez said at the shareholder meeting. “But it was clear that our continued ownership of the Russian business was no longer sustainable, nor aligned with McDonald’s values.”
McDonald’s has over 39,000 locations in more than 100 countries, approximately 95% of which are licensed or franchised.
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