While a grand total of only 63 people bothered to attend the Ford Motor Company annual meeting of shareholders in Wilmington, Delaware today, 29.5% of Ford investors voted against Ford family control of the company through their holdings of Class B stock. The Ford family gets 16 votes per share of B. Common stockholders get one vote per share. The disparity allows the Ford family to retain control of the publicly-held automaker.
Voting results showed that 3,154,667,973 shares of common stock and 70,852,076 shares of Class B Stock with a total aggregate of 5,651,353,427 votes were represented in person or by proxy at the annual meeting. These shares represented 90.5% of all the votes that could have been cast at the annual meeting.
A dissident shareholder proposal relating to consideration of a recapitalization plan to provide that all of Ford Motor Company’s outstanding stock have one vote per share was rejected, but of the total of 4,420,910,286 votes cast 29.5% of shareholders – or 1,283,063,982 of them – approved the measure. Not surprisingly, management – picked by the family – was against the proposal.
Ford earned $8.8 billion in pre-tax operating profit during 2011, an increase of $464 million over 2010. Operating margins declined to 5.4%. The numbers include a hugely favorable one-time, non-cash special item of $12.4 billion. (See Ford Motor Pays Mulally More than $29 Million in 2011)