New York (April 5, 2004) -- The board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange approved the appointment of John S. Reed, currently interim chairman, as chairman through 2005 -- a move which drew the ire of the head of the board of one of the nation's largest public pension funds.

Reed, who has served as interim chair since the September ouster of Richard A. Grasso, has agreed to serve until the 2005 annual meeting. The board also approved the nomination of the current directors to be placed on the proxy for election at the exchange’s annual meeting on June 3.

The board said it plans to ask members at the June meeting to move the 2005 annual meeting to April (from June) in order to give it more time to consider the 110 nominations it received in response to its call for recommendations of individuals to be considered for nomination as directors.

“The unexpectedly large response has made it difficult for the board to give proper consideration to all the individuals during the short time before the proxy statement must be distributed later this month," said Madeleine K. Albright, chair of the board’s nominating and governance committee. "We want to devote serious attention to these candidates, which requires more time. We are moving up the exchange’s annual meeting date in 2005 … which will give us time for thoughtful review of the qualifications of the candidates, meeting with a number of them, and taking those findings into consideration in nominations for the 2005 election of directors, as well as in appointments to the board of executives and advisory committees.”

“The directors feel that we are making excellent progress in addressing the governance and regulatory issues that have confronted the exchange, thanks in large part to the board leadership of John Reed," Albright said of Reed's nomination.

However, Sean Harrigan, president of the board of administration of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, blasted the move. "With all of the resources at its disposal, the board of directors of the exchange should be able to solve this straightforward problem of too many candidates," Harrigan said in a statement. "It once again calls into question whether there is genuine good faith on the part of the NYSE in addressing the legitimate issues that have been raised by institutional investors and other consumers."

-- WebCPA staff

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