Archives for October 17, 2018

Facebook shareholders back proposal to remove Zuckerberg as chairman

(Reuters) – Several public funds that hold shares in Facebook Inc on Wednesday backed a proposal to remove Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg as chairman, saying the social media giant mishandled several high-profile scandals.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg listens to French President Emmanuel Macron after a family picture with guests of the “Tech for Good Summit” at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Pool

State treasurers from Illinois, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, co-filed the proposal. They joined hedge fund Trillium Asset Management, which bought it to the table in June.

The proposal, set to be voted on at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May 2019, is asking Facebook’s board to make the role of board chair an independent position.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for a meeting with French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

“Facebook plays an outsized role in our society and our economy. They have a social and financial responsibility to be transparent – that’s why we’re demanding independence and accountability in the company’s boardroom,” Stringer said.

The proposal said lack of independent board chair and oversight has contributed to Facebook “mishandling” a number of severe controversies, including Russian meddling in U.S. elections and the Cambridge Analytica data leak.

Zuckerberg has about 60 percent voting power, according to a filing in April.

The New York City Pension Funds owned about 4.5 million Facebook shares as of July 31.

The Pennsylvania Treasury holds 38,737 shares of the company, according to a spokeswoman. Trillium holds 53,000 shares.

Shares held by the Treasurers of Illinois and Rhode Island were not immediately available.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

Exclusive: Amazon zooms in on central Mexico for large new warehouse

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is scouting for land in central Mexico for a fourth distribution center in the country, sources said, aiming at a bigger slice of the burgeoning e-commerce market in Latin America’s second-largest economy.

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Amazon fulfillment logo in Mexico City, Mexico, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

The retail titan’s target is Queretaro state in the industrial center of Mexico, where it is looking to hire a developer to build a large hub, two real estate professionals familiar with Amazon’s property hunt said. They asked not to be named because Amazon has not announced its plans.

The expansion plan highlights Amazon’s intent to plant roots beyond Mexico’s bustling capital, banking on the nation’s potential to grow into an e-commerce engine of Latin America.

Online shopping in Mexico comprised just 3.0 percent of total sales last year, according to market research firm Euromonitor International, but it is projected to more than double by 2022, reaching $14 billion.

“Mexico’s digital economy has great potential. We expect it to keep growing in the future,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president for public policy, at a recent event in Mexico City promoting efforts to get more Mexican companies on its platform.

“Amazon is here for the long run,” he said.

The company has considered several properties in Queretaro, and was looking for 50 acres where it could commission a more than one million-square-foot warehouse, about the size of 17 football fields, plus office space, one of the sources said.

Amazon declined to comment.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. To match Exclusive MEXICO-AMAZON.COM/ REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Illustration/File Photo

Queretaro, 114 miles north of Mexico City, is within a day’s reach of Monterrey and Guadalajara, two of Mexico’s most populous regions. It also sits in a cluster of middle-class cities in the Bajio, a region dense with automotive and aerospace plants.

Most of the state’s industrial parks sit along the so-called “NAFTA highway,” a key artery for companies in Mexico receiving goods from the United States and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement. An updated pact was agreed last month and is expected to preserve cross-border commerce once it becomes law.

The parks are also within several miles of the Queretaro Intercontinental Airport that handles cargo.

Amazon’s expansion to Queretaro would be part of the company’s bid to reel in shoppers with fast deliveries while keeping a lid on shipping expenses.

“It’s all about speed to market and keeping costs low,” said Marc Wulfraat, president of logistics consultancy MWPVL International Inc.

Amazon, which began selling physical goods in Mexico in 2015, already operates three warehouses just outside Mexico City with about 1.5 million square feet. That space is equivalent to just 1.0 percent of its vast U.S. logistics footprint, according to MWPVL.

Still, it has scaled up faster in Mexico than in Brazil, which MWPVL says has 665,400 square feet.

For Pedro Villa, whose Mexico-based company Konekte sells home storage equipment, speedy deliveries boost sales by reining in first-time shoppers who are concerned about online fraud and worry packages may not arrive.

“It’s about confidence,” Villa said. “If you pay and it takes a week or 15 days, you’re going to want your money back.”

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Clive McKeef