General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) Faces Protests From Workers And Shareholders At Annual Meeting


Employees and shareholders of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) have expressed their frustrations over the company’s poor financial performance. They staged protests during the company’s first annual general meeting to be presided over by Chief Executive Officer John Flannery, under whom the company has reported a 43% drop in stock price.

Several workers unions representing the company’s workers in factories located in Canada and Pennsylvania protested outside its facility during the annual meeting where 450 shareholders gathered.

The shareholders, who gathered in the company’s 125,000-square foot showroom for 3D printing machinery demanded for the resignation of directors who were on the board when the company’s performance started going down. According to one of the shareholders, the company should carry out an audit into its operations in a bid to get actionable solutions as well as hold back pension payments of former CEO Jeff Immelt. Bill Freeda, a retired employee, said that that all the performance-related payments should not have been made. The company’s shares dropped 5.2% on Wednesday.

In response, the company’s CEO said that they are aware of the pain and suffering that has been caused by the poor performance plus the dividend cut last year. GE executives are working hard to turn the ailing company around as well as boost the oil and gas business. Addressing shareholders, the CEO said that there are already signs that the company is on a recovery journey.

During the annual meeting, shareholders elected a much smaller board with three new members joining the board. The shareholders voted against six proposals. One of the proposals rejected was the call to have the position of chairman and chief executive held by different people. Another proposal would call for the exclusion of share buybacks when calculating whether the company met the financial target to qualify for bonuses. The company did not pay bonuses to executives in 2017.

In the results announced last week, the company posted an improvement in its first-quarter results. The company restated its full-year earnings prediction. It however warned that its power business is struggling and that a lot of time will be required to restore the company back to profitability in that section.

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