April 24, 2019 / 9:51 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-Norway's wealth fund calls for annual elections to Kellogg's board

(Adds Grupo Mexico, background)

OSLO, April 24 (Reuters) - Norway’s $1.1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, will support a shareholder proposal calling for annual elections of board members at food maker Kellogg Company, the fund said in a statement on Wednesday.

Norges Bank Investment Management, which runs the fund, only rarely discloses voting intentions in advance of shareholder meetings, but may do so when it considers a topic to be of particular importance to investors.

Holding stakes in more than 9,100 companies, the fund owns 1.4 percent of the world’s listed equities.

Its stake in Kellogg stood at 0.64 percent at the end of 2018 with a market value of $126.8 million.

Kellogg, a maker of cereals, snacks and other food, will hold its annual meeting of shareholders on April 26.

“For board accountability to be effective, shareholders must be able to participate in frequent election of all members of the board, with our preference being annual elections,” Chief Corporate Governance Officer Carine Smith Ihenacho said.

“Clear positions on good governance ensure predictability and consistency in our voting. As an owner we can influence companies by deciding who sits on the board,” said Ihenacho Smith.

Separately, NBIM also said it would vote against the proposed election and ratification of directors at mining company Grupo Mexico, calling instead for more transparency.

“We will vote against the resolution to elect directors since the company has not disclosed the names of the director nominees and bundled the election of its directors into a single voting item,” NBIM said.

“To ensure board accountability, we need to know who the nominees are, evaluate them and vote on each individually,” it added.

NBIM held a 0.61 percent stake in Grupo Mexico at the end of 2018, with a market value of $97 million. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Catherine Evans and Alexandra Hudson)

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