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Ever since the 2012 "Shareholder Spring," shareholders have stopped acting as passive recipients of companies' reports or obedient rubber-stampers of their plans and pay packages, and started actively and publicly questioning board decisions, airing grievances, and submitting proposals for change. This shift is long overdue, and it will transform how business operates, whether companies like it or not.For example, shareholders at British satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat voted against its remuneration report, underscoring the divide between executive compensation and company performance. Likewise, remuneration policies were rejected by nearly 36 percent of shareholders at Unilever and 34 percent at AIG. While executive pay got the most attention this year, investors and the public are deeply concerned about several other issues as well. Some are better known than others, but all will require urgent attention in the coming months, if boards are to avoid major upheaval at next year's annual general meetings.The Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has now been indicted, and the company he founded, the Weinstein Company, has collapsed.The telecom company AT&T paid Cohen as much as $600,000 as part of a similar consulting contract.Even if these actions are not explicitly illegal, they raise serious ethical – and, in turn, reputational – questions, for which companies are increasingly being called to account.
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