| BOSTON, April 28
BOSTON, April 28 A director at NRG Energy Inc
was elected to its board with a strong margin of votes cast, a
securities filing showed on Friday, overcoming concerns about
his comments on climate change and the intentions of the
activist investors who backed him at the New Jersey power
The result from NRG's annual meeting, which was held
Thursday morning at a hotel in Princeton, New Jersey but not
disclosed at the time, showed a lack of support among investors
for a campaign led by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer
against the director, Barry Smitherman.
In an April 6 letter Stringer, who oversees New York City
pension funds, urged investors to oppose Smitherman's election,
citing what he called the activists' "short-term orientation"
that did not consider the views of most other shareholders.
Stringer also said Smitherman's views on climate change
should disqualify him to be a director of the company involved
in renewable power like solar and wind energy.
Despite Stringer's efforts at NRG, however, Smitherman won
support from 93 percent of votes cast, the filing showed. All
but one other director nominee won higher vote shares.
A representative for NRG's board said Smitherman and others
would not comment on Stringer's concerns. An NRG spokeswoman
declined to comment on the results on Friday evening.
Smitherman, a former Texas energy regulator, was named to
NRG's board in February under an agreement it reached with
Elliott Management, the hedge fund run by Paul Singer, and
private equity firm Bluescape Energy Partners, which together
had about 9 percent of NRG.
Stringer had cited Smitherman's past comments such as when,
as a Texas political candidate, he said he had "been battling
this global warming hoax for 6 years now."
The Princeton, New Jersey company also agreed to form a
board committee to review its operations and strategy.
In an e-mailed statement Stringer said the outcome was still
a "shot across the bow against short-term activists." He also
said, "It's clear our campaign elevated the issues, mobilized
investors, and put the board on notice."
In other cases Stringer has proven effective at mobilizing
investors behind corporate governance causes such as "proxy
access," making it easier for groups of shareholders to run
their own director candidates.
By his offices' count more than 300 companies have
instituted the change after Stringer made it a focus, including
General Electric and Citigroup Inc.
(Reporting by Ross Kerber; editing by Diane Craft)