David Winters Wintergreen Funds

David Winters: "The Governance Is Terrible" At Coca-Cola

Wintergreen Advisers CEO David Winters spoke with FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Maria Bartiromo about Coca-Cola’s changes to their executive compensation plan. Winters said, “We’re thrilled that The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has acknowledged and conceded that what they did was wrong.” Winters went on to discuss Coca-Cola’s management saying, “the governance is terrible” and the board that put the executive compensation plan “in place is still there, so there is a real question about credibility and whether there needs to be real change at the top of Coca-Cola.”

David Winters: "The Governance Is Terrible" At Coca-Cola

David Winters on whether he is satisfied with the changes to the executive compensation plan at Coca-Cola:

“We’re thrilled that Coca-Cola has acknowledged and conceded that what they did was wrong. And now we think there is an opportunity for further progress at Coca-Cola.”

David Winters on why billionaire investor Warren Buffett was reluctant to say that the Coca-Cola executive compensation plan was excessive:

“Well we don’t really know. But what we do know is that there were a number of shareholders, big shareholders who know in the SEC filings also opposed the plan, so the company has capitulated, but the next step is how do you improve the operations. The margins are way too low. The governance is terrible. The board that put this in place is still there, so there is a real question about credibility and whether there needs to be real change at the top of Coca-Cola.”

David Winters on the issues with the Coca-Cola:

“Well first of all the company Coca-Cola solidified a proxy which was massively diluted and it wasn’t clear. There were bonus shares that were hidden in another document. Then they made statements during the solicitation, which we believe are not true and then one of the directors, Mel [Maria Elena Lagomasino] said they had massive shareholder support overwhelming shareholders support. None of those three things added up, so now what they are doing is reducing the amount of dilution on an annual basis, so we made huge progress.”

David Winters on why he is against Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent:

“Well I think Muhtar is a very personable guy, but he led this process which would have massively diluted shareholders. They weren’t straight forward and we believe untruthful. You can’t have someone run a major company or any company anywhere in the world today who doesn’t treat their shareholders with reverence and respect.”



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