August 04, 2021

Annual Meetings (Shareholders)

Annual Meetings (Shareholders)

Public Company Virtual-Only Annual Meetings
     Lisa A. Fontenot, 73(1): 35-52 (Winter 2017/2018)
Public companies traditionally hold annual shareholder meetings using a formal in-person format. Some companies have more recently supplemented the meeting with audio or video streaming and are now adding an electronic component to a physical meeting to allow for remote participation, commonly referred to as a “hybrid meeting.” A relatively small but fast-growing number of companies are holding their annual shareholder meetings on an electronic-only basis with no physical meeting, known as a “virtual-only meeting.” This article discusses the legal landscape for virtual-only meetings, briefly reviews the history of the practice, and explores the controversy they present with certain institutional investors and activists. Its objective is to provide an initial roadmap of legal and practical considerations for companies considering virtualonly shareholders meetings.

Public Company Virtual Annual Meetings: The 2020 Watershed and Path Forward
     Lisa Fontenot, Roger Bivans, and Jamie Nix, 76(3): 927-944 (Summer 2021)
Although “virtual-only meetings” of shareholders of public companies have been permissible since 2001, an explosion occurred in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic when 80 percent of S&P 500 public companies held “virtual-only meetings” in April to May 2020 compared to only 12 percent in the first quarter of 2020.