EMC Seeks More Independent Board

Shareholders vote yes to a proposal to find new directors unaffiliated with EMC co-founder Richard Egan or the company.

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass.--EMC Corp. will soon have a more independent board of directors and will launch a new low-end product with partner Dell Computer Corp., officials said during the companys annual shareholder meeting here on Wednesday.

At the Hopkinton, Mass., companys annual shareholder meeting, with about 800 investors in attendance, a 56 percent majority voted yes to a proposal to find new directors unaffiliated with the family of EMC co-founder Richard J. Egan, or who are employees, partners or customers of the company. A proposal to specifically seek female and minority board members did not pass, but did receive significant support; the current board is composed of seven white men.

There are two open positions as EMC seeks to expand the board from seven members to nine. Three of the current seven were re-elected by an overwhelming majority Wednesday, including President and CEO Joe Tucci, despite the companys recent price wars and market share battles with IBM and Hitachi Ltd. and a slide in stock price to the $7 to $8 range this week, down from a 52-week high of about $43. To some shareholders chagrin, officials declined to comment on the new seats candidates or the selection process.

Without giving details, Tucci also referred to future low-end products to be developed with partner Dell, of Round Rock, Texas. He did not discuss the next generation of EMCs flagship high-end Symmetrix product or EMCs current lawsuit against, and countersuit by, Hitachi, of Tokyo.