An Uber shareholder resolution to disclose lobbying expenses is getting closer

In a regulatory filing issued Thursday, Uber shareholders rejected a proposal that would have obliged the ride-hailing business to disclose all of its direct and indirect lobbying actions and expenditures.

Shareholders had already rejected the proposal. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of shareholders demanding full transparency in this year’s financial statements. This year, a higher percentage of shareholders, 45 percent, than previous year’s 30 percent, voted in support of the proposal. To be passed, a proposal requires the support of at least two-thirds of the company’s shareholders.

In what will undoubtedly be a years-long process of encouraging corporations like Uber to be more open in their spending, the rise in the number of votes in favour signifies a victory for proponents.

According to a proposal put up by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Uber’s failure to fully disclose its lobbying actions puts the corporation at danger in many ways.. The most apparent danger is to the company’s image if it is disclosed that it supports a cause that its consumers find objectionable.

Teamster senior government analyst Michael Pryce-Jones feels that the true danger is posed to the long-term viability of the firm.

In order to expand or protect your markets, how much do you have to spend on lobbying efforts? As Pryce-Jones has previously said, “it’s because that goes to the sturdiness of how you’re making money.”

It comes as Uber and other app-based corporations continue to campaign aggressively and promote so-called grassroots groups committed to independent worker rights to maintain workers classed as contractors, rather than employees. Rather of paying its drivers and delivery personnel as employees, Uber’s business model relies on the fact that they do not get benefits such as minimum wage and sick leave, as well as legal safeguards such as workers’ compensation.

Most notably, Uber donated $30 million to a campaign in California to pass Proposition 22 (which ended up garnering more than $200 million). A number of states, including Massachusetts, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, are actively pursuing legislation along these lines.

Various other ideas

Additionally, on Monday, the board of directors recommended that three additional proposals be accepted. For starters, it is being proposed that 11 directors be elected to serve until the annual meeting in 2023 and until their successors are chosen. Directors who are now on Uber’s board were chosen for this position.

The non-binding advisory vote of Uber’s shareholders also approved the 2021 remuneration of the company’s named senior officers. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s remuneration plan included a salary of 6%, a cash bonus of 12%, and long-term stock worth 82% of his income. This amounts to $1 million in salary, $16 million in stock awards, $2.4 million in non-equity incentive plan pay (basically simply a bonus), and $507,738 in additional compensation (primarily for security and personal safety expenditures), totalling $20 million in 2021 CEO remuneration..

Other executives received a 9 percent salary, a 9 percent cash incentive, and 82 percent long-term stock in their companies. Total remuneration for executives is broken out as follows:

  • Nelson Chai, chief financial officer: $6.8 million
  • Jill Hazelbaker, SVP of marketing and public affairs: $7.9 million
  • Tony West, SVP, chief legal officer and corporate secretary: $7.4 million
  • Nikki Krishnamurthy, SVP and chief people officer: $10.7 million

Uber has a compensation philosophy that supports its goals of attracting and retaining people, aligning executive incentives with business success, providing additional financial incentives for attaining particular milestones, and “reinforcing cultural norms,” if that’s what that means.

Uber’s remuneration strategy is revealed in a regulatory filing:

In order to promote long-term stockholder value creation and link the compensation of our executive officers to these long-term strategic goals and key drivers of our business, the primary focus of our compensation philosophy and program is on the long-term elements of target total compensation.

In the end, Uber’s shareholders approved the hiring of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company’s independent registered accounting firm till 2022. PwC has been Uber’s accounting company for the last two years, so this isn’t a big deal.