2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders
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As a public company, we host an Annual Meeting of Stockholders each year. We typically host this at our Restaurant Support Center (our headquarters) in Dublin, Ohio. However, given the current environment and to support social distancing, we hosted our first ever virtual Annual Meeting of Stockholders via webcast earlier today.
First, What’s an Annual Meeting?
An Annual Meeting is an opportunity for shareholders to gather each year to hear directly from Wendy’s management and Board of Directors. The primary function of the Annual Meeting is to allow shareholders to vote on the proposals that were described in our Proxy Statement for the meeting, including the selection of our Board of Directors. It also gives us an opportunity to provide shareholders with a recap of our previous year’s performance as well as our long-term growth strategy and goals.
All Wendy’s shareholders who held shares as of the record date for the Annual Meeting are invited to participate in the meeting, and we encourage them to do so. Wendy’s executive management team and Board of Directors also attend. These meetings conclude with an opportunity for shareholders to ask questions to management and the Board regarding Wendy’s and our business.
What Was Discussed?
Shareholder Vote and Business Update
The meeting kicked off with a shareholder vote on the items of business brought before the meeting, which included: (1) the re-election of our existing 11 directors to our Board of Directors, (2) the approval of our new 2020 Omnibus Award Plan, (3) the ratification of the appointment of Deloitte & Touche as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2020, and (4) the approval of our executive compensation program. All of the proposals were approved by our stockholders by a very wide margin.
After reporting on voting results and concluding the formal part of the meeting, we then briefly discussed our achievements in 2019, our first quarter earnings results, including our strong launch of breakfast in the U.S, and how we are managing through COVID-19. Despite being in the midst of a global pandemic and a challenging economic environment, we remain committed to the pillars of our long-term growth strategy outlined at Investor Day last October.
Supporting Our Team Members and Communities
We also highlighted the Wendy’s family’s amazing efforts to support our communities and team members during these uncertain times. The health and safety of our employees, customers and communities is of the utmost importance to us, and as we’ve blogged about previously, we have introduced several system-wide operational changes to protect our restaurant teams and customers. This includes no‐contact and limited contact ordering options, focusing on social distancing practices at our restaurants, and investing in additional training in areas such as handwashing and hygiene re‐certifications, social distancing, and proper mask utilization. As the operations within our restaurants shifted primarily to drive‐thru and delivery only at the start of the pandemic, our dedicated teams have used this time as an opportunity to focus on continuing to deliver an exceptional customer experience through those channels.
Good Done Right
Our Wendy’s culture is special and a big part of it comes from our commitment to our founder’s core values which include Give Something Back, Treat People With Respect, and Do The Right Thing. We strive to bring those values to life through daily interactions with our team members and customers and in the communities where we do business, now more than ever. Our system-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the values that Dave Thomas instilled over 50 years ago and which continue to guide us today.
Part of living those values means ensuring we continue to conduct business responsibly, with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Earlier this year we issued our 2019 CSR Report focused on our actions within the pillars of Food, People and Footprint, and branded our efforts under what we refer to as our Good Done Right program.
In 2020 and beyond, we will maintain and advance our Good Done Right approach by engaging and empowering our team members, championing new strategies with our suppliers and bringing our customers and stakeholders along with us on this journey. This will include strengthening existing initiatives and launching new ones to enhance our approaches to food, people and our footprint.
ESG Materiality Assessment
As part of this work, I shared information about a process we initiated to formalize our approach to ESG issues. We recently conducted a months-long multi-stakeholder, rigorous, and data-driven assessment to help inform our ESG strategy and efforts moving forward. A materiality assessment is an analysis of internal and external information to define and prioritize material ESG topics that have a significant impact on Wendy’s and/or are significantly impacted by Wendy’s operations. We did this in partnership with a global third-party professional services firm in order to maintain an independent view on ESG topics, and to align with market practices.
You can expect to see Wendy’s focus on key ESG areas that we believe have the greatest impact on Wendy’s and our employees, customers and communities, and where we have the biggest opportunity to make a positive difference.
- Environmental (E): Packaging & Waste and Climate, Energy & Water.
- Social (S): Animal Care & Welfare, Food Safety & Quality, People & Ethics, and Nutrition.
- Governance (G): Traceability & Transparency and Data Security & Privacy.
While COVID-19 has required team members and many of our suppliers to focus their immediate attention on responding to the pandemic, we are committed to finalizing the materiality assessment and publishing our results publicly in the coming months.
Building an Even Stronger Wendy’s
Through all of this, we remain focused on supporting our employees, restaurant teams, customers and franchisees, and providing the high-quality experience that is expected from Wendy’s. The future will be different than the past, but we have put ourselves in a position to regain the momentum we had built going into this challenging time. No matter what the industry landscape looks like on the other side, I am confident that we will emerge from this as an even stronger Wendy’s brand.
Stay safe, stay healthy and continue to take care of yourselves and each other. All of us at Wendy’s continue to take pride in serving you, and our focus will always remain on delighting every customer, period.