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Pfizer Shareholders OK Advisory Compensation Vote

From Associated Press (April 26, 2012)

NEW YORK -- Pfizer Inc. shareholders re-elected Chairman and CEO Ian Read and 13 other directors and approved a provision that gives them an advisory vote on executive compensation at the drug maker’s annual meeting Thursday.

The world’s largest drug maker also said it will maintain its quarterly dividend at 22 cents per share. Pfizer, based in New York, had announced in December that it would increase the dividend to 22 cents from 20 cents, as it continues to bulk up the quarterly payment after cutting it in half -- from 32 cents from 16 cents -- in 2009 to help pay for its $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth.

It will pay the dividend on June 5 to shareholders of record as of May 11.

The maker of the cholesterol fighter Lipitor said 96.7 percent of votes cast at the meeting were for a proposal that gives shareholders an advisory vote on executive compensation. The board had recommended that shareholders vote for the proposal.

Pfizer had noted in a proxy statement filed earlier this year that the shareholders’ advisory vote on executive pay passed by only 56 percent at last year’s annual meeting, well below the 96.8 percent approval voted at the 2010 meeting. The proxy blamed the decline in approval on the big payout given to former CEO Jeffrey Kindler when he left. He got nearly $29 million, between 2010 compensation and accumulated retirement benefits.

Voters on Thursday also rejected several shareholder proposals opposed by the board, including an advisory vote on director pay.

Only 4.1 percent of votes were cast in favor of a proposal calling for the publicizing of all company political contributions. Another proposal that would allow shareholders with 10 percent of common stock to call special shareholder meetings received 39.2 percent of votes in favor and 60.8 percent of votes against.

The annual meeting was held in Morristown, N.J., and 82.4 percent of the votes entitled to be cast at the meeting were either present in person or by proxy.

Pfizer shares climbed 17 cents to $23.05 in afternoon trading, as broader trading indexes also rose slightly.


Posted: April 2012