ID NEWS: Sysco elects Riviana Foods ceo to board and increases dividend; shareholders reject 2003 st

Sysco Corp., Houston, has elected a new member to its board of directors: Joseph A. Hafner, Jr., who is president and ceo of Riviana Foods.

"The election of Joseph Hafner increases the size of our board to 12 members, the majority of which are independent," notes Richard J. Schnieders, Sysco chairman and ceo. "The combination of his industry experience and financial knowledge will make him a valued contributor to our board and to the audit committee, as our directors continue guiding Sysco, representing our shareholders and overseeing strategies for continued future growth."

At the same time, shareholders approved an amendment to the company's restated certificate of incorporation to increase to 2 billion the number of shares of common stock that the company is authorized to issue. Shareholders, however, rejected a request that the board review Sysco's policies for food products containing genetically engineered ingredients and report those results to them. A third proposal, requesting approval of the 2003 stock incentive plan, also failed to receive a majority of votes.

"We continue to believe that share ownership is a strong contributor to Sysco's long-term performance and that associates should be rewarded for the value they create," Schnieders comments. "Our 2000 stock incentive plan remains in place, and we will continue to assess appropriate incentive and reward alternatives that allow our associates to acquire a proprietary interest in the long-term success of Sysco.

Separately, Sysco raised its quarterly cash dividend 18.2%.
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