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Apr 25, 2022

HPE’s award-winning AGM: Looking to accessibility and strategy

As the peak of the proxy season approaches, we look back at why Hewlett Packard Enterprise won the award for best AGM at Corporate Secretary’s 2021 Corporate Governance Awards

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is no stranger to virtual shareholder AGMs and views them as an exercise that goes beyond merely fulfilling regulatory or governance obligations. As our judges noted, the company has proven to be adept at using technology to make its meeting very accessible.

The company’s AGM is focused on shareholder engagement and allows for interaction with executives and the board. A key feature of this desire to maximize accessibility is enabling investors to ask as many questions as possible and at the time they want to.

In 2021 HPE received more than 200 questions, both before and during the AGM, addressing a range of topics on company strategy, performance, governance, workforce and environmental and social issues. HPE has pledged to answer every question that is submitted.

During the live Q&A segment of the AGM, the company addresses as many questions – both submitted live and in advance – as time allows. At the 2021 AGM, the live Q&A segment ran for 25 minutes with questions answered by the board chair, CEO, CFO and chair of the board’s compensation committee. For questions not tackled during the AGM, answers are posted afterwards on HPE’s annual meeting and proxy website.

Derek Windham, HPE

Most questions were submitted before the AGM and although there were too many to answer during the Q&A, the team looked for themes that could be addressed, such as around governance and directors, capital allocations, stock repurchases and the status of the business’ transformation.

Derek Windham, vice president, associate general counsel and assistant corporate secretary at HPE, says that when his team began thinking about how to design the AGM, ‘we were thinking of it as a way to reach out to our retail shareholders.’

This is an extract of an article that was published in a special report on the Corporate Governance Awards 2021. Click here to read the full article and about the other winners.