My name is Emma Schwartzman. Today I filed a derivative action on behalf of Safeco Corporation against Mike McGavick and Safeco’s Board of Directors. Our lawsuit seeks to recover as much as $28 million dollars that Mike McGavick unethically received from Safeco after he resigned as Safeco’s CEO.
If you or I abscond with money that doesn’t belong to us, it’s called theft. When a CEO does it: that’s called corporate waste. Our lawsuit alleges that Mike McGavick didn’t earn the $28 million, he knew he wasn’t entitled to it, but he took it anyway.
I have brought this lawsuit to protect the assets and integrity of Safeco Corporation — a company that is important to me, my family, and my community.
My great, great grandfather was a founder of General Insurance Company, which later became Safeco. My great grandmother sat on the board and was an adviser to the company in its early years – at a time when most women had little role in corporate affairs. I own original shares passed down to me from my great great grandfather.
I have always been proud of my family’s role in building Safeco into a major employer in our state and a trusted member of the business community.
But under Mike McGavick’s leadership, Safeco lost its ethical compass. His greed has diminished the value of my investment and, more importantly, the ethical values of this great company.
It is no defense that the Board of Directors agreed to this payout. McGavick knew he didn’t deserve this money, and by taking it he breached his duties to Safeco and its shareholders and to me. He cannot point the blame elsewhere.
I am not an activist and I have never filed a lawsuit. I am part of a generation that is fed up with corporate corruption. Our knowledge of big business comes from a seemingly endless string of scandals – from Enron and Worldcom to today’s unfolding stock option scandals. These examples of greed shine light into boardrooms where CEO’s try to get rich by any means necessary. They disregard the law, ethics, and impacts to shareholders and employees. And board members turn a blind eye. It’s appalling.
In bringing this suit, I represent the interests of all Safeco shareholders in saying no to Mike McGavick’s style of corruption. He served as our CEO, and then, with a big smile, he looted the company on his way out the door.
We won’t stand for this corporate corruption in our backyard, and we won’t stand for it in our hometown company, Safeco. I ask you, Mike McGavick: Give back the $28 million to Safeco and its shareholders.
I will now turn the podium over to my attorney to discuss the specifics of the case.
BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT OF EMMA SCHWARTZMAN
Emma Schwartzman is 27-years old. She was born in Chicago and has lived in Seattle for the last decade. She worked as a waitress in Seattle for seven years before returning to be a full time student at the University of Washington in 2005. She is interested in pursuing a career in journalism.
She enjoys surfing on the Washington Coast, camping throughout Washington State, and knitting.
Emma is the holder of original Safeco shares that were passed down in her family from her great, great grandfather, who was a founder of General Insurance Company, which later became Safeco. Her great grandmother sat on the board and was an adviser to the company in its early years – at a time when most women had little role in corporate affairs. She has brought the lawsuit Schwartzman v. McGavick to protect Safeco’s reputation in the community and to recover its rightful assets for shareholders.