A welcome invitation…

January 9, 2004

I’ve read a lot of proxies over the years, particularly so in the past year as I was working on my book. So you can imagine my surprise when I came across Jacobs Engineering’s (JEC) invitation to investors (and their own employees) in the proxy it filed yesterday. “Any shareholder or investor may submit at any time a good faith complaint regarding any questionable accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters concerning the company at any time.” The proxy then goes on to provide numerous ways to contact the audit committee, including a toll-free hotline and an email address. There’s also an open invitation for investors to contact the company’s independent directors. Now part of Sarbanes-Oxley did include a whistle-blower component for employees — like the two women who blew the whistle on Enron and Worldcom. But Jacobs is taking this new rule a few steps further. Let’s hope that other companies start picking up on this too!

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