Waste Management chairman resigns over political contribution
- Brad Anderson has resigned as chairman of Waste Management's board of directors, effective April 10 per an SEC filing, "due to personal reasons." Anderson also recently resigned from the boards of General Mills, Carlson, Minnesota Public Radio and the Mayo Clinic, as reported by MPR News.
- This was spurred by news that Anderson contributed $25,000 to Secure America Now, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, which created anti-Muslim ads. Those ads were shown through targeted Facebook and Google campaigns during the 2016 election, as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets blog.
- Anderson told MPR News he wasn't aware of the videos until this story came out April 5, didn't support them, and decided to donate based on discussing Israel with the group's president. "It seems to me hard to understand that you would expect that I would be held accountable for everything somebody subsequently does with a contribution," he said.
Secure America Now’s tax filing also shows a $2 million contribution from hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and $1.1 million from Estee Lauder heir Ronald S. Lauder. Anderson's contribution was part of a comparatively smaller $60,000 pool, along with Best Buy founder Dick Schulze and investor Foster Friess.
Anderson initially resisted calls for his resignation from various board positions, deferring to the companies over any such decision. That has changed in the past week following attention from the Council on American Islamic Relations and others.
After a nearly 20-year career with Best Buy, during which he served as CEO from 2002 to 2009, Anderson joined the Waste Management board in 2011. He became chairman in Feb. 2017 following the death of Bob Reum, who had held the position since 2012. Prior to his resignation, Anderson also served on the board's audit committee, management development and compensation committee, and nominating and governance committee. According to the company's latest proxy filing, Anderson received total compensation of $432,500 in 2017.
Thomas Weidemeyer, chair of the nominating and governance committee, will serve as interim board chairman until an election is held. Weidemeyer has been on Waste Management's board since 2005 and was previously COO of UPS.
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