CalPERS Withholds PeopleSoft Votes

March 18, 2004 ( - The $161 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) will withhold votes for three PeopleSoft Inc's directors up for reelection next week.

CalPERS, which owns 1.8 million PeopleSoft shares, is withholding its votes in part of its ongoing actions to keep outside auditors independent at companies.  KPMG, auditor for PeopleSoft, was used for services such as consulting last year, which CalPERS maintains can be a conflict of interest, according to a Contra Costa Times report.

The withheld votes will not prevent the election of the three directors at PeopleSoft, a software maker, but CalPERS hopes it continues to send their message about corporate governance boards, following action taken against Walt Disney Co, Hewlett Packard and Applied Materials (See Beleaguered Disney Head Tries to Shore Up Support , CalPERS Withholds HP Board VotesCalPERS Withholds Votes at Applied Materials Inc ).

The three audit committee members who are up for election are A. George “Skip” Battle, Frank J. Fanzilli Jr. and Cyril J. Yansouni.   CalPERS in announcing the decision it has not due to the Pleasanton, California-based company’s ongoing battle with Oracle, which has garnered a lot of attention during the past year.