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Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), Devon Energy Corp (DVN): Shareholders – Remember Your Rights on Independence Day

Corporate governance experts and proxy advisor Glass Lewis didn’t approve of Target’s pay policies, or ability to parallel pay and performance. One issue is that one of Target’s executives received a one-time stock award valued at $2.7 million, and he’s not even CEO; he’s the discount retailer’s new chief marketing officer.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) has been a serial offender when it comes to shareholder abuse in the executive pay arena. It recently lost its say-on-pay vote when a pathetic 19% of its shareholders voted in favor of CEO Mike Jeffries’ pay. In fact, shareholder support for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF)’s compensation scheme has been deteriorating over the course of several years.

Speaking of abusive CEO pay rates, corporate governance junkies know that the average ratio of CEO pay to that of the average American worker is crazy; as of the AFL-CIO’s latest calculation for 2012, the ratio was 354-to-1.

If you think that’s bad, just wait. Although Dodd-Frank has not yet mandated that companies disclose their specific internal pay ratios, Bloomberg conducted a fascinating bit of number crunching in April. According to the research, Jeffries’ $48.1 million in fiscal 2012 pay created a compensation ratio of 1,640 times that of the average worker. Apparently flattery gets you everywhere in that company, notorious for hiring and exalting “beautiful people” — it’d better, since they sure as heck aren’t making much compared to Jeffries.

Barbecues and a side of food for thought
Beer, burgers, and pyrotechnics can certainly distract us from the reasons we celebrate July 4. However, let’s remember that we do have rights and that we can and should use them. That goes for shareholders, too. After all, if everyone’s brainwashed into thinking their votes and voice don’t matter, it’s a slippery slope into tyranny in one form or another.

Millions of Americans have waited on the sidelines since the market meltdown in 2008 and 2009, too scared to invest and put their money at further risk. Yet those who’ve stayed out of the market have missed out on huge gains and put their financial futures in jeopardy.

Check back at Fool.com for more of Alyce Lomax’s columns on environmental, social, and governance issues.

The article Shareholders: Remember Your Rights on Independence Day originally appeared on Fool.com.

Alyce Lomax has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Devon Energy and JPMorgan Chase.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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