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Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal report this morning that a campaign to oust Safeway CEO Steve Burd has been initiated by dissident shareholders of the company.

The move is led by two public employee pension funds.

In addition to Burd, who has been identified as being militantly anti-union and the most confrontational CEO during the recent four-month strike/lockout in Southern California, two outside directors - William Tauscher and Robert I. MacDonnell - also are being targeted by the funds as being too cozy with Burd.

Critics of the funds' move accused them of being too cozy with organized labor.

The institutional investors together hold about seven million of Safeway's 444.8 million outstanding shares, according to the WSJ. The funds said that they hope to unseat the men at Safeway's May 20 annual meeting.

The NYT notes that the pension funds are making the move against Burd having just succeeded in getting Disney's Michael Eisner to step down from the chairmanship of that company, though he did manage to hold onto the Disney presidency. For now.
KC's View:
We suspect that this effort won't be successful, because the funds will be identified with certain special interests (labor) that are perceived as being obstacles to Safeway's survival.

But that doesn't mean the story is over. If Burd doesn't score some points pretty quickly, we suspect that the issue will be reopened.