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Control Data Holders Give Stock Plan Lukewarm OK

May 02, 1985|DONALD WOUTAT | Times Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS — Control Data, the troubled computer firm, received a mild rebuke from some shareholders Wednesday when a stock plan for executives won only 67% approval at the annual meeting.

It would have been even closer to the required 50.1%, Chairman William C. Norris said, except that the company persuaded some institutional investors to change their "no" proxy votes. Shareholder approval of management proposals normally runs above 90%.

Norris said opponents either misunderstood the plan or "questioned the introduction of such a plan in an environment of depressed earnings."

The plan, which the company said was intended to retain valued executives, would give them as many as 60,000 shares each, which they could keep by remaining at Control Data for five years.

A pool of 2 million unissued shares of common stock, about 5% of the total, is set aside for the plan.

In addition to rewarding executives, putting the shares in the hands of employees would presumably help ward off a hostile takeover attempt.

Control Data's earnings plunged 81% last year to $31.6 million, and the company went $9.2 million into the red in the quarter ended March 31. Company leaders said Wednesday that the current quarter will result in "only a small profit at best." They said there will be modest improvement in the second half of 1985.

Control Data, which makes big computers and disk drives and has a large financial-services unit, has suffered from the industry slowdown as well as its own mistakes and quality problems.

Norris, founder and chief executive, said he is "confident" that Control Data will find a buyer for its big Commercial Credit financial subsidiary by midyear. But he said the unit won't remain on the market indefinitely.

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