Cloud software firm Veeva joins Ben & Jerry’s, Lemonade in becoming Public Benefit Corporation
Life sciences cloud software firm Veeva Systems this afternoon said it will convert from a C Corp. to a public benefit corporation, or PBC, a move that changes its corporate charter to reflect a legal obligation to serve not just shareholders but also employees and customers.
« With today’s shareholder approval, Veeva will become a public benefit corporation on Feb. 1, 2021, making it the first publicly traded company and largest-ever to convert to a PBC, » the company said in a press release.
Veeva joins publicly traded Lemonade, the insurance firm that claims to be reinventing the insurance industry, which came public last year as a PBC; and privately held Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, the ice cream company.
Veeva proposed the move back in September, and it was put to a vote of shareholders, and 99% of shareholders voted yes to the conversion, said Veeva.
While the move sounds similar to some commitments about environmentally -sustainable growth have become popular, it is somewhat different in that it is a formal, legal change in the type of incorporation from C Corp to PBC.
In an email to ZDNet, Veeva explained in prepared remarks that PBCs are connected to the idea of stakeholder capitalism, in which « corporations consider the broader impact they have beyond just shareholders. »
« But as a PBC, Veeva is taking things a major step further, » the company said, « by changing its articles of incorporation and making it their legal duty to balance the interests of customers, employees, partners, and shareholders – all stakeholders materially affected by the company.
« Without this formal change, corporations still only have one legal duty: maximize shareholder profits. »
Veeva shares were unchanged in late trading at $282.