Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Massey Energy

Massey Energy Company (NYSE:MEE) is holding is annual shareholders' meeting today, at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. The record date is March 19.

Massey is the owner of the Upper Big Branch Mine in the suitably named town of Montcoal, West Virginia, where an explosion took place on April 5 of this year that killed 29 miners.

A special board of directors panel has been looking into that explosion, and it was expected top release its preliminary report today, but reports are that won't happen -- that the board will simply say it is still gathering information.

Meanwhile Massey announced Friday that it will "actively work toward the declassification of the Board." No action on that point will occur at today's meeting, but "within the next three to six months, the Board of Directors intends to hold a special meeting of the shareholders" to consider the declassification amendment to the certificate of incorporation.

But because of the existing unamended staggering, only three members of the Board are seeking re-election today: Richard M. Gabrys, Dan R. Moore, and Baxter F. Phillips. Each of these nominees Two proxy advisory firms, Glass Lewis and RiskMetrics, have recommended that shareholders withhold any vote for these nominees. If their advice has caught on, and those nominees fail to receive a majority of votes, a recently-adopted rule demands that they submit their resignations (although it doesn't indicate whether their colleagues will accept the resignation once submitted).

Intriguingly, all three of the incumbents up for re-election today serve on the board's safety committee. If these guys are going to continue to lead unruffled directorial lives, then the concept of a captain going "down with his ship" seems to have withered completely away from us.

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