Altria - proposal defeated to remove nicotine from future tobacco brands..

May 19, 2009 - Six stockholder proposals, including one on executive pay and another on removing nicotine from tobacco products, were defeated today at Altria Group Inc.'s annual shareholders' meeting in Richmond.

The proposal to give shareholders more say on executive pay was defeated with 53 percent of votes cast in opposition. The executive pay proposal would have allowed shareholders to vote on an advisory resolution at each annual meeting ratifying the compensation of top executives. Altria shareholders also defeated a proposal to have the company disclose all of its political contributions semi-annually.

Other proposals by tobacco-control activists were voted down by much wider margins, including the move to have the company remove the addictive substance nicotine from any of its future tobacco brands, which 96 percent of the votes cast opposed.

Henrico County-based Altria owns the nation's largest cigarette company, Philip Morris USA, and the country's largest smokeless tobacco maker, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.

About 175 company shareholders attended the annual meeting at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Reference: Anti-nicotine, pay proposals defeated at Altria meeting by JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/19/2009.