CIAM asks Scor to delay meeting to cope with COVID-19
This article was first published on Activist Insight Online on March 27, 2020. For more information about the module, click here.
Activist shareholder Charity Investment Asset Management (CIAM) has called on Scor to delay its April 17 annual meeting in order to allow shareholders more time to analyze and engage on the proposed motions, given the current COVID-19 crisis.
“Scor is probably the only company to have pulled its Annual General Meeting (AGM) much earlier this year, on April 17th, by calling it on Friday 13th of March, just within the legal limits within French corporate law,” CIAM said. The activist added that Scor should rather focus on managing the COVID-19 impact on its business instead of preparing for a shareholder convention.
Scor said it would hold its annual meeting this year nine days earlier than the previous year.
In a letter to fellow Scor shareholders, CIAM also requested the French insurer to shed light on its future leadership and specify if it intends to appoint an independent chairman in 2021, when Denis Kessler’s mandate expires.
Last year, CIAM, a 1.3% shareholder in Scor, sought to oust Kessler from the board in a bid to reduce his influence. However, the activist’s resolution failed to garner sufficient shareholder support.
In the meantime, Scor signaled that it may consider the separation of the chairman and CEO roles in 2021, when Kessler’s director mandate ends. This was welcomed by CIAM, but the activist went a step further and asked Scor to devise a “clear” succession plan for both its leading roles, according to the letter signed by CIAM CEO Catherine Berjal.
CIAM continued its attack on Kessler by saying that Scor maintained its “poorly drafted” pay policy that “lavishly” rewards its boss, despite failing to deliver “strong relative performance” and last year’s “very clear signal” from shareholders against the company’s remuneration scheme.
A year ago, CIAM led a campaign against the firm’s executive pay, saying it was “unjustified” and “out of sync” with peers, an argument backed by proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis. At the company’s annual meeting, the resolutions on remuneration only garnered the support of 55% of the votes cast, far less the 74% backing Kessler.
Shares in Scor traded down 5% at 10:30 a.m. Central European Time on Friday. The stock has tumbled 43% this year.