Proxy Blog

Norfolk Southern Corporation

April 20, 2020

 The annual proxy for this railroad company had the following proposals: 

  1. Proforma votes on directors, appointment of auditors, and “say-on-pay” advisory vote 
  2. Board proposals on voting standards, simple majority voting, and majority voting on re-domestication 
  3. Shareholder proposal on written consent 

Magni voted as follows: 

  1. For and against proforma proposals.
    -For directors – The board has a majority of independent directors and some have CEO/CFO experience with other companies. The compensation of directors is disclosed with a meaningful portion in equity where the equity has restrictions to align director incentives with long-term value creation. 
    -For auditors – There appear to be no controversies with the financial statements of the company.
    -Against say-on-pay” – The lack of disclosure of activity level in the shareholder engagement program and the lack of benchmarking of the company against its peer group prevent Magni from voting for this proposal. 
  2. For the board proposals on simple majority vote  Last year the proxy had a shareholder proposal on simple majority voting. To the credit of the board of this company, this year’s proxy has votes to remove supermajorities from key areas of the bylaws. It is easy for Magni to vote for these proposals as the proposals are both consistent with good governance practices and evidence of a responsive board.  
  3. Against shareholder proposal on written consent – Per the Magni position paper, Magni routinely votes against these proposals.