SAN DIEGO — A director of Enron was reappointed Tuesday to Qualcomm Inc.’s board over the objections of labor groups and some shareholder activists.
At the company’s annual meeting, shareholders voted to appoint Frank Savage to another three-year term as a member of the board of directors of the San Diego-based wireless technology firm. Savage, 63, has served on the Qualcomm board since 1996.
Qualcomm had been under pressure from shareholder activists not to reappoint Savage from the company’s board. He and other members of Enron’s board have been sharply criticized for failing to provide sufficient oversight to prevent the collapse of the energy trading company.
Two Enron directors, Robert K. Jaedicke and Wendy L. Gramm, the wife of Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, recently resigned from the boards of other companies.
Savage was elected along with five other nominees, including Brent Scowcroft, who served as a national security adviser in the administrations of presidents George Bush and Gerald Ford.
Irwin Jacobs, Qualcomm’s chairman and chief executive officer, told shareholders he was aware of the opposition to Savage, but that he has been “an excellent and hardworking board member” and that company officials continue to support him.
“I do have complete confidence in his integrity,” Jacobs said.
Savage was not at the shareholder meeting where the vote was announced because of a previous commitment, Jacobs said. The other four nominees all attended the meeting.
Several shareholders and representatives of labor organizations, whose members hold Qualcomm stock in their retirement plans, rose to challenge the appointment.
“Do you want to be in bed with skunks like that?” one shareholder told Jacobs during the comment period.
Eric Grant, 72, a Qualcomm shareholder and retired attorney from Jamul, said Savage and the other Enron directors failed to protect the interests of investors.
“I don’t think they should put a man who is tainted on the board of directors of Qualcomm,” Grant said. “I think shareholders have a right to say we could do better with somebody else.”
The exact vote tally will not be announced until Qualcomm’s next quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The newly appointed board members will serve until 2005.
On the net: www.qualcomm.com