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We Shareholders Want Good Value

The Wall Street Journal Home Page

We Shareholders Want Good Value

May 27, 2008; Page A20

In your May 22 editorial “The Exxon Fight, Round 2,” you ignore a fundamental truth: that the long-term viability of any company is of legitimate concern to its shareholders. The reform sought by the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds and other shareholders — to encourage a separation of the roles of chairman and CEO (as is the case with a growing number of publicly traded companies) — is designed to promote shareholder value, not diminish it.

Surely the Journal knows that shareholders own the company in which they invest. As principal fiduciary of the $26 billion Connecticut pension benefits plan, I have both a right and duty to scrutinize how a business in which we are invested is run. Secondly, I have not “recently joined” the shareholder action, but co-filed our first of several shareholder resolutions at Exxon Mobil in 2003 and have been actively involved in this issue right along.

While the Journal seems to pit the interests of organized labor and other shareholders, in fact the AFL-CIO has named the separation of CEO and chairman as one of its “key votes” for this year. Equally misleading is the description of me as “the future candidate for Governor.” While flattering, it is wholly inaccurate, as I have made no such claim on my plans.

Companies failing to address environmental concerns will damage their profitability in the long term. If I were to espouse an ideological perspective, as you imply, I might point out the irony of growing a pension fund for the future well-being of beneficiaries whose health may be jeopardized by the very companies in which the fund invests.

As it is, I will stick to what I was elected to do: maximize investment returns over the long term in the best interests of our pensioners and Connecticut taxpayers. And that means making sure the company we own does not sow the seeds of tomorrow’s demise while enjoying today’s profits.

Denise L. Nappier 
Connecticut State Treasurer 
Hartford, Conn.


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