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Why Buffett Should Vote ‘No’ on Coke

Warren Buffet

On April 24, Rana Foroohar’s interview with William Lazonick on the effects of buybacks on corporate compensation and inequality appeared on Time Magazine:

The discussion over inequality is all the rage these days, and it’s been given a new wrinkle with the hoopla over Warren Buffett’s abstention from a vote over Coke’s new compensation plan, which would award billions of dollars to Coke managers in Coke stock if they hit certain performance targets. Buffett told CNBC that he opposed the idea, but wouldn’t directly vote against it, because he loved the company, which was run by “great people” (which, it must be said, includes his son, who sits on the firm’s board). Traditionally, Buffett has opposed excessive corporate compensation, as well as the stock buyback plans that often fuel oversized packages, because, as he said in a 1999 letter to shareholders, “repurchases are all the rage, but are all too often made for an unstated and, in our view, ignoble reason: to pump or support the stock price.”

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