NY State Pension Withholding Citigroup Director Votes

April 14, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - New York State Common Retirement Fund plans to withhold votes to re-elect the Citigroup's chairman and chief executive as directors.

The state’s $115.7 billion public pension fund said the status of Citigroup Chairman Sanford Weill and Chief Executive Charles Prince as both corporate insiders and members of the firm’s board of directors “raises questions about the independence and objectivity of Citigroup’s board of directors,” the fund said in a news release.   The fund believes the company would be better served with a more independent board of directors.

Thus, the fund will be withholding votes on its 22.4 million Citigroup shares regarding the pair’s reelection at the company’s April 20 th annual meeting.   The fund owns 22.4 million shares of Citigroup’s stock.  

New York’s pension fund is following the lead of the nation’s largest public pension fund, the $167 billion California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).   Earlier this week, CalPERS announced plans to withhold votes on its 26,712,930 shares at Citigroup’s annual meeting for Weill and Prince to serve as directors of the financial services company (See   CalPERS Targets a Dozen Proxy Targets).