The nation’s largest retailer is holding its annual shareholders’ meeting today. Walmart (WMT) will play host to thousands of out-of-town employees, investors and celebrities at its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters. The company bills the event as a feel-good meeting, but throngs of protesters will also descend on the meeting, demanding higher pay for working mothers.
Also at the meeting, shareholders are expected to push for votes on proposals to shakeup the company, after five consecutive quarters of declining sales and lackluster stock performance. One of the proposals advocated by Institutional Shareholder Services, which advises investors, is to appoint an independent chairman of the board. Another proposal would allow shareholders to have a say on executive compensation.
Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task doesn’t think those issues will be addressed at the meeting. He said Walmart has been neutral on the minimum wage issue. The company has also been buying back stock over the last few years and now owns a majority of shares again. So, he said the shareholder initiatives are even more likely to go nowhere at Walmart than at most other major companies.
Yahoo Senior Columnist Michael Santoli said the party atmosphere at the annual event may be good optics, but Walmart will never be a shareholder democracy. “So, it’s a meeting to feel good and to have some PR points scored and that’s about it,” he said.