Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) witnessed a number of activist groups holding rallies ahead of its annual shareholder meeting on May 14. Protesters who entered its campus had various issues including displeasure with Google’s financial aid to organizations lobbying against climate change. Others expressed their concern over the company employees displacing and evicting San Francisco residents. Yet other protesters were pushing for better treatment to Google’s contract employees.
Shareholders don’t want Google to pay more taxes
During the two-hour long meeting, Reverend Jesse Jackson complained that technology companies like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) have few African-Americans and Latinos among their senior ranks. Google’s head lawyer David Drummond promised that the search engine giant will next month release statistics on its workforce diversity. Google’s outside shareholders had proposed six different changes to its governance. But Drummond said that advance voting before the meeting ensured that none of those suggestions would pass.
The advance voting was a bit surprising. About 93% voters were against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) reforming its tax policies. Shareholders didn’t want the company to pay more taxes. During the question and answer session, shareholders expressed their dissatisfaction with the company splitting the stock to consolidate future power with its chairman and co-founders. Responding to such comments, Larry Page said that it was tight leadership that gave it the ability to focus on long-term innovation rather than just incremental work.
Google chairman responds to EU ruling
During the meeting, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive chairman Eric Schmidt responded to the European Union’s ruling about the “right to be forgotten.” A European court ruled earlier this week that users can request the search engine giant to delete links to search results about themselves if the information is no longer relevant or “inadequate.” After the ruling, Google has begun receiving thousands of removal requests. Eric Schmidt said, “You have a collision between a ‘right to be forgotten’ and a right to know.” But that’s a balance from Google’s perspective.