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Target's final tally shows dissent against board

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm •  Published: June 13, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — Target Corp.'s final shareholder vote tally showed a rise in dissent against key board members, highlighting how a massive data breach is eroding faith among its investors.

All 10 nominees were elected to the board Wednesday at the discounter's annual shareholders' meeting. But the rise in votes against several key directors shows that Target, based in Minneapolis, has a lot of work to do to shore up confidence among the investor community.

The investor dissatisfaction comes at one of the most tumultuous times in Target's history as the discounter faces challenges on all fronts ranging from the data breach to a botched-up expansion in Canada. The company fired its CEO Gregg Steinhafel in early May and is looking for a new leader.

The shareholder dissent follows a recommendation by Institutional Shareholder Services last month to shareholders to get rid of seven out of 10 directors who serve on the company's audit or corporate committees because they failed to spot the pre-Christmas security threat. The breach compromised credit card and personal information of millions of customers and exposed big security flaw. That move seemed to influence the shareholders' votes.

All seven members who were targeted by ISS saw at least 19 percent of the shares cast were against each of them, according to the results released by Target.

Among the hardest hit were James A. Johnson, who was once the CEO at Fannie Mae, and Anne Mulcahy, former chair and CEO at Xerox. Of the 557 million shares voted — representing 88 percent of shares outstanding on the record — Target says that 37.1 percent of the votes cast were against Johnson, while 36.4 percent were against Mulcahy. Twenty-two percent of the votes were cast against board member Roxanne S. Austin, who is serving as interim nonexecutive chair of the board.

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