GE Board Members’ Seats at Risk

SEC says the company must allow its shareholders to vote on term limits.

General Electric Co. must allow shareholders to vote on a proposal that would limit the terms of two of its longest-serving board members, the Securities and Exchange Commission has ruled.

That plan would bar independent directors elected from 1998 to 2013 from running again after serving 15 years, according to correspondence with the SEC in which GE sought to block the vote. Former Avon Products Inc. Chief Executive Officer Andrea Jung and Young & Rubicam Inc. ex-CEO Ann Fudge would be the first to feel its effects, GE said.

SEC’s View

“We do not believe that GE may omit the proposal from its proxy materials,” Adam Turk, an SEC attorney, wrote GE on Jan. 30 in response to the company’s efforts to bar a vote on term limits. Florence Harmon, an SEC spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the decision.

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