AKRON — The COVID-19 pandemic has created another potential pitfall for businesses: how to hold an annual meeting that fulfills the requirements of such events in a locked-down world.
The answer, of course, is to hold virtual meetings, but as Goodyear learned, that's not without risks.
Goodyear held its annual meeting on April 6 in a virtual format online. In that meeting, the company's shareholders re-elected 12 board members and approved executive compensation.
But the meeting also apparently angered shareholder John Chevedden of Redondo Beach, Calif., according to a filing he made with the Securities and Exchange Commission that appeared on the SEC.gov website on April 7.
Mr. Chevedden had a proposal up for consideration at the meeting — Proposal 4, specifically, which would have required changes to the company's bylaws be put to a nonbinding vote by shareholders in order to give them a voice in such decisions.
"It is important that bylaw and charter amendments take into consideration the impact that such amendments can have on limiting the rights of shareholders and on reducing the accountability of directors and managers," the proposal states.
Mr. Chevedden said he especially wanted the change now, because of Goodyear's recent performance.
"It is particularly important to increase the voice and rights of shareholders in a year in which our stock has fallen from $20 to $5. Goodyear stock is now priced lower than it was in 1962," his proposal states.
But Mr. Chevedden said the microphones were cut as the proposal was being considered.
Now, he wants the matter to be given a fair hearing and voted on again, since the proposal failed to pass during the meeting.
"The polls should be reopened so that shareholders can vote based on the full text of the Proposal 4 presentation," Mr. Chevedden wrote in his SEC filing.
Goodyear did not yet respond to questions on the matter, which were posed to the company on short notice April 7, so it could not be determined whether the microphones cut out because of a technical glitch or some other reason.