WASHINGTON — Eli Kasargod-Staub, executive director of Majority Action, a nonprofit organization that empowers shareholders to hold corporations accountable to high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, and long-term value creation, and Josh Zinner, CEO of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), released the following statement in response to Sturm Ruger & Company Inc (NYSE:RGR)’s annual general meeting today in which shareholders asked the company to reverse its policy of refusing to meet with investors.
“We are hopeful that Sturm Ruger will swiftly drop its policy of refusing to engage with investors and immediately pursue meaningful and productive dialogue with shareholders concerned about the risks to public safety. Sturm Ruger can and should meet with concerned investors to pursue opportunities to improve public safety and shareholder value, while effectively managing the reputation and financial risks to long-term investors presented by gun violence.”
Majority Action and ICCR filed an investor advisory calling for shareholders to vote against two board directors, including board chair Michael Jacobi, due to their dissatisfaction with the gun manufacturer’s report in response to a 2018 shareholder resolution filed by an ICCR member calling for a report on its efforts to promote gun safety.
ISS, the largest US proxy voting advisor, also recommended that shareholders vote against three leading members of the Ruger board citing the company’s failure to adequately respond to the gun safety resolution. The resolution received over 68% support from voting shareholders, including its largest investors, BlackRock and Vanguard.
Shareholders representing ICCR attended Ruger’s meeting, asking the board to drop its policy of refusing to meet with shareholders directly, even the company’s largest shareholders, BlackRock and Vanguard. The board acknowledged some outreach to large investors prior to its annual meeting and indicated that the company is seriously investigating amending this policy going forward. Investors are hopeful they will be able to schedule a dialogue with the company in the coming months.
Majority Action is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering shareholders of all sizes to hold corporations and their leadership accountable to high standards of long-term value creation, corporate governance, and social responsibility. www.majorityaction.us
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 49th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, NGOs and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $400 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability. www.iccr.org