Loblaw shareholders to vote on union proposal for independent chair

TORONTO _ Shareholders of Loblaw Companies Ltd. are being asked to vote on a proposal at their annual meeting this year to require the chair of the company be an independent director, a move the company opposes.

Galen G. Weston serves as both chief executive and chairman of the board for the retailer.

The proposal is being put forth by the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union general fund. The union argues that splitting the role is good corporate governance and would improve shareholder value.

The company has recommended shareholders vote against the proposal, arguing that combining the roles benefits everyone.

It also noted that it has a strong independent lead director in Thomas O’Neill to provide leadership when the chairman’s role may be perceived to be in conflict.

Loblaw’s annual meeting is set for May 3 in Toronto.