Textron – Separate Chair and CEO Roles (2004 – 2005)
RESOLVED: The shareholders of Textron Corporation (the “Company”) request that the Board of Directors establish a policy of separating the roles of Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) whenever possible, so that an independent director who has not served as an executive officer of the Company serves as Chair of the Board of Directors.
This proposal shall not apply to the extent that compliance would necessarily breach any contractual obligations in effect at the time of the 2005 shareholder meeting.
We believe that having an independent Board Chair – separate from the CEO – reflects principles of sound business practice and corporate governance and is in the best interest of shareholders. The primary purpose of the Board of Directors is to protect shareholders’ interests by providing independent oversight of management and the CEO. The Board gives strategic direction and guidance to our Company. The Board can better fulfill both obligations by separating the roles of Chair and CEO. An independent Chair will enhance investor confidence in our Company and strengthen the integrity of the Board of Directors.
A separation of the Chair and CEO could more effectively address a number of challenges faced by our Company. For example, companies are faced with ethical and legal challenges arising from diverse cultures and political and economic contexts. Today, management must address issues that include human rights, workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively, non-discrimination in the workplace, careful use of the environment and sustainable community development.
A more independent structure can also help the Board to address complex policy issues facing our Company as the international social, cultural and political context within which it operates changes. We believe companies need to formulate policies to reduce risk to reputation in the global marketplace. Our Company should be in a position to assure shareholders that its employees are treated fairly, sustainable environmental standards are in force and human rights standards are upheld wherever our Company does business in the global economy.
Many respected institutions recommend such separation. For example, CalPERS’ Corporate Core Principles and Guidelines state: “the independence of a majority of the Board is not enough” and that “the leadership of the board must embrace independence, and it must ultimately change the way in which directors interact with management.”
In order to ensure that our Board can provide the proper strategic direction for our Company with greater independence and accountability, we urge a vote FOR this resolution.