May 30, 2018
26% of Amazon Shareholders Vote in Favor of SumOfUs’ Shareholder Resolution
SEATTLE -- At Amazon’s annual general meeting of shareholders today, 26% of all shareholders voted in favor of a resolution filed by SumOfUs, an international consumer group, calling on the company to separate the role of CEO and chair of the board, creating an independent board chair. Due to the fact that Amazon counts abstentions as votes, and Jeff Bezos owns 16.37% of Amazon shares, SumOfUs estimates that approximately 40% of independent shareholders in fact supported the resolution.
Amazon’s current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeff Bezos also serves as Amazon’s Chair of the Board, and shareholders argued that “Jeff Bezos shouldn't be his own boss.”
Lisa Lindsley, Capital Markets Advisor for SumOfUs, who presented the proposal at the AGM, reacted to the shareholder vote, explaining:
“There is a clear conflict of interest when a Amazon’s board of directors, which is responsible for overseeing Jeff Bezos and representing shareholders, is chaired by Jeff Bezos. Today, Amazon’s shareholders sent a clear signal that an independent board chair is a necessary first step to putting the Amazon’s board on the path to effective representation in the interest of all shareholders.”
Salma Mirza, Campaigns Director at SumOfUs, who took place in protest outside the AGM, added:
“As both CEO and Board Chair, Jeff Bezos’ leadership at Amazon has hurt our communities. Whether it's by profiting from the pain of victims of gun violence and streaming NRATV on its platform or being one of the last major advertisers for Breitbart, to paying employees so little that they literally can’t put food on the table, to fighting taxes that pay for affordable housing and houselessness programs, to the race-to-the-bottom competition for HQ2, or spewing pollution that harms our health and damages our climate - Amazon’s profits come at the expense of our communities, and that’s because of a lack of accountability up at the top. The lesson is simple: Jeff Bezos shouldn’t be his own boss.”