‘A so-called Shareholder Spring has spread throughout Europe and the U.S. in recent months. Flexing new power given to them by last year’s Dodd-Frank reform law, shareholder-activists have turned traditionally boring shareholder meetings into actions where they demand change from the corporations that have done shareholders – and citizens in general – wrong over the past several years.
The UK has seen the most dramatic results of these actions, with three CEOs (at publisher Trinity Mirror, insurer Aviva and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca) resigning amid shareholders’ outrage over CEO pay. The movement has also caught on in France, where newly elected president François Hollande is planning to slash the paychecks of several CEOs. (In France, the government owns a large stake in many companies, so the nation is a shareholder.)’