CalPERS to Withhold Director Votes on Backdating Concerns

May 25, 2007 ( - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is opposing the re-election of four more directors to the boards of companies named in the backdating of employee stock options.

The directors headed compensation committees during periods when options were backdated, according to a CalPERS press release.   They are:

“We believe executive compensation committee leaders have the highest level of responsibility to ensure that compensation policies are above board,” said Russell Read, CalPERS Chief Investment Officer. “Our action also sends a message that shareowners are dissatisfied with this kind of performance.”

The CalPERS Board adopted a program in December 2006 to withhold votes from former chairs of compensation committees where the chief executive officer departed under a scandal of option backdating (see .

Under the program, CalPERS announced its opposition in April to the re-election of Ray Irani, who received a 19% withhold vote to the board of KB Home (see  KB Home Taps Independent Chairman in Post-Options Scandal Era ).   

CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund with assets totaling more than $245 billion.