Pension fund targets 33 US companies on governance

NEW YORK Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:08pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 20 (Reuters) - A pension fund that campaigns against perceived corporate governance failures will target Citigroup Inc (C.N), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) and 30 other companies at their upcoming annual shareholder meetings.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said it has submitted proxy proposals on issues such as bank bonuses, splitting chairman and chief executive roles, requiring executives to keep company stock after they retire and giving shareholders a "say on pay" for executives.

These proposals would help make corporate directors more accountable to shareholders, more closely tie executives' and companies' financial interests and focus companies on long-term success rather than potential short-term share price gains, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said.

"Wall Street executives have destroyed trillions of dollars in shareholder value while lining their own pockets," he said.

AFSCME's targets include Aetna Inc (AET.N), American Express Co (AXP.N), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N), Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Raytheon Co (RTN.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and XTO Energy Inc XTO.N.

Most shareholder proposals fail, but dozens have succeeded at major companies in recent years. Bank of America shareholders last year narrowly approved a proposal for the largest U.S. bank to appoint an independent chairman, despite the bank's urging that the proposal be rejected. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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