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Liveris Steps Down From The Citigroup Board

According to a recent Citigroup filing with the Securities and Exchange Administration, Andrew N. Liveris will not stand for reelection to Citigroup’s board in April. No reasons for the move were given.

I do remember that back in 2010, when the Dow CEO last stood for reelection, he faced opposition from CalPERS. The nation’s largest public pension fund said it would cast “withhold” votes for Liveris, as well as former University of Pennsylvania head Judith Rodin, because they served on Citigroup’s audit and risk committee before the financial crisis. Moreover, the California fund said Liveris served on an “excessive number of company boards.” He is chairman of Dow and is also an IBM director.

“In part for their accountability in the financial crisis” was actual wording CalPERS used in the release. Would anybody have listened to Rodin and Liveris if they predicted the financial meltdown and warned the world about it? Probably not.

At that meeting, more than 17 billion shares voted for Liveris. About 700 million voted against him. He won handily, though only two other directors former Alcoa chairman Alain Belda and Citigroup chairman Richard Parsons received fewer votes.

Also worth noting is that by that meeting, he had already moved from the audit and risk management committee to the personnel and compensation committee and the public affairs committee. (I’m not terribly sure what that latter committee does, but I’m pretty sure that Liveris would be pretty good at it.)

Though Liveris’ tenure at Citigroup was somewhat controversial, there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to suggest that the dust up with CalPERS is the reason he’s leaving the board.

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