Saw this post from Karl Denninger, and WOW! I agree those statements are shocking!
First, what happened at the Coke shareholders meeting 4/23/14 (from Rob Cox at Reuters):
On Wednesday, just a small minority of shareholders voted against a compensation plan that would potentially have handed up to $16.6 billion worth of stock to 6,400 executives.
And the surprise is this (again from Rob Cox):
…Wintergreen Advisers’ David Winters objected to a plan that would have effectively handed assets created by previous generations of Coke entrepreneurs to today’s shop stewards. Coke’s defense – that dilution from the option scheme could be offset by stock buybacks – only compounded the notion that the principals’ wealth is being used to overpay their agents.
But the real disappointment is that Buffett, known as a bold straight-shooter, came off as a coward in the Coke affair. He didn’t agree with the company’s compensation plan but abstained from voting for fear of suggesting he lacked confidence in Chairman and Chief Executive Muhtar Kent.
As Winters summed it up, Buffett “had the opportunity to take a stand against excessive management compensation and failed to seize it.”
Karl Denninger has the direct quotes from Warren Buffett:
He was asked about the CocaCola resolution put before the shareholders (Berkshire has a big position) and how he was voting on it. He said he “abstained.”
But it was the next statement that left me speechless.
He said that “It’s kind of un-American to vote ‘No’ at a Coke meeting”; adding that “taking them on is a bit like belching at the dinner table.”
Worse, in a follow-up he asked if he silently sat for — or worse, voted for — other compensation plans he didn’t like and he said not only had he but he had never seen anyone in his 55 years speak out against them at a boardroom table!