June 5 (Reuters) - A majority of Nabors Industries Ltd shareholders voted on Tuesday in favor of having the right to officially nominate board directors, following a year of upheaval over executive compensation at the land-drilling company.
The resolution asks Nabors to adopt a bylaw allowing holders of 3 percent of its stock for three years to nominate directors for up to 25 percent of the board in the official “proxy” voting materials.
It happens to be similar to a measure the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sought to impose on all U.S.-listed companies before that was blocked by a federal court last year.
The New York City comptroller’s office, which proposed the non-binding resolution, said after the Nabors annual meeting in Bermuda on Tuesday that the Nabors vote was the first time such a measure had received majority support since the SEC measure was blocked.
“It serves as irrefutable evidence that the investment community wants reasonable proxy access rights for substantial, long-term shareowners,” New York Comptroller John Liu said in a statement. “In the immediate term, Nabors can help restore the confidence of its investors by adopting the proposal.”
A Nabors spokesman said a final tally of its shareholder votes would be released later this week.
At last year’s Nabors annual meeting, a majority of shareholders voted against its executive pay. Gene Isenberg, the Bermuda-based company’s famously well-paid chief executive, stepped down later in the year. The SEC then launched an informal inquiry into Nabors executive benefits.
Earlier this year, Isenberg gave up a $100 million payment linked to his resignation as CEO. (Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Chang)