September 8, 2011
External Affairs Branch
Robert Udall Glazier, Deputy Executive Officer
Brad Pacheco, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Clark McKinley, Information Officer
CalPERS Seeks Annual Director Elections at Smithfield Foods Inc.
SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has asked fellow shareowners to support its proposal requesting annual director elections at Smithfield Foods Inc.
CalPERS Proposal No. 5 at Smithfield Foods' September 21st annual meeting asks the global company to take the steps necessary to replace the existing practice of electing board members to staggered terms with annual elections, thereby enhancing the shareowners' ability to hold directors more accountable.
"Annual director elections ensure accountability" said Senior Portfolio Manager Anne Simpson, who heads the CalPERS Corporate Governance program. "To date approximately 64 percent of companies in the S&P 500 and 54 percent of companies in the Russell 1000 have annual director elections – the direction of change is positive on annual elections."
For the five years ending July 29, 2011, the company trailed the stock returns of the Russell 1000 Index by 37.4 percent and the index industry peers by 97.4 percent.
CalPERS owned 476,080 shares of Smithfield as of the July 15, 2011 record date. CalPERS is the nation's largest public pension fund with approximately $235 billion in global assets as of July 31, 2011. It administers retirement benefits for 1.6 million active and retired State, public school, and local public agency employees and their families and health benefits for more than 1.3 million members. For more information on CalPERS corporate governance issues, visit the CalPERS Corporate Governance website.