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McDonald’s shareholders push for proxy access

McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) shareholders on Thursday approved a proposal that would make it easier to nominate directors to the board of the fast-food chain, which is in turnaround mode after losing customers and sales to competition and after internal missteps.

Investor support for such new director nomination rules, referred to as "proxy access," is growing.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers) and the New York City Pension Funds had urged shareholders to vote for proxy access at McDonald's, and influential proxy advisory firms Institutional Investor Services and Glass Lewis & Co recommended that their clients support it.

Vanguard Group and BlackRock Inc (BLK.N), major investors that hold significant stakes in McDonald's, have publicly backed proxy access.

McDonald's opposed the proposal, which was filed by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust.

"We believe that making McDonald's leadership at the board level more accountable to shareholders ensures that the board is the strongest it can be to usher in a new chapter of prosperity for the benefit of the company, its employees, and shareholders," said the trust's chief corporate governance officer, Meredith Miller.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer called proxy access at McDonald's "the perfect antidote for a board whose turnaround plan prioritizes share buybacks over long-term value creation."

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