Target shareholders this week will resolve a hotly contested election for seats on the retailer's board of directors. Election results will be revealed at Target's annual meeting Thursday, in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Activist investor William Ackman argues the board needs fresh perspectives and expertise greater expertise in areas such as real estate and credit cards. He wants seats on the board for himself and four allies.
Target's board insists incumbent board members up for re-election have served the company well and should retain their seats. Bill Frels, who oversees the Mairs & Power Growth Fund in St. Paul, agrees with management. The fund holds about two million shares of Target.
"We feel it's in our best interest to vote with the company and not in favor of Mr. Ackman's proposal regarding expanding the board and adding new directors," Frels said.
Stephen Brown is director of corporate governance at TIAA-CREF--a big pension fund. He said shareholders can't pick their favorites from both slates, unless they travel to Waukesha to vote.
"Either you are voting with the dissidents' slate or you're voting management's slate," Brown said. "You cannot mix and match."
Brown's firm is undecided about its vote. He suspects many shareholders attending the annual meeting may vote for a mix of incumbents and challengers.