More tur­bu­lence for Bom­bardier board

CPP lat­est big in­vestor to ques­tion board nom­i­nees, ex­ec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS -

MON­TREAL — The Canada Pen­sion Plan In­vest­ment Board has joined sev­eral large in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors in withholding sup­port for the re-elec­tion of Bom­bardier’s ex­ec­u­tive chair and op­pos­ing the com­pany’s ex­ec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion plan.

The CPPIB, which man­ages Canada’s largest re­tire­ment fund, is withholding its vote for Pierre Beau­doin and two other di­rec­tor nom­i­nees rec­om­mended by the board of the Mon­treal-based firm.

It’s also vot­ing against Bom­bardier’s ex­ec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion pro­posal, ac­cord­ing to a tally posted on the CPPIB web­site as part of its rou­tine dis­clo­sure of its vot­ing in­ten­tions.

The vote is only an ad­vi­sory to Bom­bardier’s board — share­hold­ers can’t vote against board nom­i­nees but they are able to for­mally with­hold votes to ex­press their dis­plea­sure.

The CPPIB’s vote — while not enough by it­self to sway the out­come at Bom­bardier’s an­nual meet­ing on Thurs­day — fol­lows an out­pour­ing of anger that in­cluded protests out­side the com­pany’s Mon­treal head­quar­ters over pay hikes for Beau­doin and other se­nior ex­ec­u­tives.

That came af­ter the com­pany re­ceived as­sis­tance from the fed­eral and Que­bec gov­ern­ments to­talling nearly US$2 bil­lion over the past year.

CPPIB didn’t com­ment on the web­site about its rea­sons for its votes, but spokesper­son Dan Madge said in an email that they were based on the fund man­ager’s pub­lished poli­cies.

Ac­cord­ing to fil­ings com­piled by Thom­son Reuters, CPPIB had nearly 8.3 mil­lion Bom­bardier shares as of March 31, less than half a per cent of the vot­ing rights at Bom­bardier. Bom­bardier’s largest share­holder — the Caisse de de­pot pen­sion fund man­ager — dis­closed a sim­i­lar vote Mon­day, and other ma­jor Cana­dian and Amer­i­can fund man­agers have fol­lowed suit.

The com­pany has said Beau­doin will con­tinue to stand for re-elec­tion, but would not com­ment un­til the mat­ter is dis­cussed at the an­nual meet­ing.

Ot­tawa gave the com­pany a C$372.5-mil­lion loan in Fe­bru­ary for re­search and de­vel­op­ment with the goal of pre­serv­ing jobs.

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