WILMINGTON, Del. -- General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner assured investors last week that the company is making "significant progress" in its turnaround plans for North America. Shareholders made their own historical statement by approving two shareholder proposals that would change the way the board is elected, according to preliminary results.
It was the first time in GM's history that shareholder initiatives won majority votes. But the board still would have to approve any changes.
One proposal would require board members to receive majority votes of stockholders, not a plurality. The other would allow cumulative voting. That would allow a shareholder to cast as many votes as the number of shares held, multiplied by the number of directors to be elected.
Wagoner's message to investors was mostly upbeat. He noted various cost-cutting measures that GM has taken, the success of many of the company's product launches and GM's sell-off of key assets - all helping the automaker to put "a lot of the stuff behind us."