Major pension fund to vote against Wal-Mart board

BENTONVILLE, Ark, Tue May 22, 2012 – The second largest U.S. public pension fund said on Tuesday it plans to vote all of its Wal-Mart Stores Inc shares against the board in the wake of bribery allegations in Mexico that Wal-Mart officials failed to fully investigate.

California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, has already sued current and former Wal-Mart executives, saying allegations the company paid millions of dollars of bribes in Mexico and a cover-up by Wal-Mart officials raised the question of whether top executives should remain in place.

The allegations “indicate a breakdown of corporate governance and lack of oversight that should have averted this situation,” CalSTRS said in a statement.

CalSTRs added it “does not have confidence the current board has the independence and leadership needed to address these difficult issues.”

CalSTRS plans to vote its 5.3 million Wal-Mart shares against the re-election of all board members and encouraged other shareholders to do the same.

The $153.7 billion pension fund has said as an index investor, it is required to hold shares of the retailer, which is a component of the Dow Jones industrial average and many indexes.

Shares of Wal-Mart were up 0.8 percent at $63.53 in late-morning trading after rising to $63.55, their highest level in more than 10 years, earlier in the session.