R.I.P. Sean Harrigan

R.I.P. SEAN HARRIGAN….CalPERS is the state of California’s employee pension fund. Yesterday, as expected, Sean Harrigan finally lost his job as its president.

Why? Because he’s a shareholder activist who has pushed hard for reform in the executive suite. He’s a union official who fought the Safeway strike last year. And he and other activists have fought boardroom cronyism relentlessly and nearly got Disney’s Michael Eisner fired a few months ago. And then there’s this:

In addition, the [Chamber of Commerce] and the Business Roundtable say pension funds and other activist investors shouldn’t be able to target corporate practices in the name of narrow agendas that don’t have all shareholders’ interests at heart.

To that end, both groups have vociferously opposed a pension fund-led proposal that would make it easier for unhappy shareholders to nominate their own director candidates for corporate boards.

That’s a funny way of looking at things. Making it less onerous to nominate a new board ? which would still have to win the votes of a majority of shareholders ? is, for some reason, apparently not in everybody’s interest.

And here I thought that competition was supposed to be good for capitalism. Just not in the boardroom, I guess.