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Six people attend Rollins annual meeting in person

Maria Saporta

By Maria Saporta

Without a doubt, Atlanta-based Rollins Inc. on Tuesday convened its most unusual annual meeting in its 51-year history.

During normal times, Rollins holds an intimate annual meeting at its headquarters on Piedmont Road. There usually are a handful of company executives in the room, its board of directors and a rare shareholder or two.

Randall Rollins sits at the head table with Beth Chandler, the corporate secretary. Sitting more than six feet apart in the audience are: (L-R) Eddie Northen, the CFO; Gary Rollins, CEO; and John Wilson, the president and COO (Photo by Maria Saporta)

But in 2020, Rollins only had six people in the room – the company’s top executives and a reporter. The board of directors called in via conference call.

The reason for the unusual format was the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing. It’s especially important for the directors of Rollins, most of whom fall into one of the most vulnerable population based on age.

It was a hybrid meeting – both in person and online. Most major companies have decided to hold virtual annual meetings this year.

“This is all new to us,” acknowledged R. Randall Rollins, 88, who chairs the board of the company and owns more than half of the company with his brother, Gary W. Rollins, 75, the CEO of Rollins. Both of them attended the meeting in person.

For guests, the protocol before entering into the meeting was one of caution. Guests had to wear a face mask, clean their hands with hand sanitizer and get their temperature taken.

As usual, there was little fanfare during the meeting. It elected three directors – Randall Rollins; Henry B. Tippie, 93; and James B. Williams, 86. It also approved Grant Thornton to be its independent public accountant, and there was a non-binding vote on executive compensation.

Rollins owns the Orkin Pest Control company, and its revenues in 2019 exceeded $2 billion. It serves 2.4 million customers in 64 countries, according to its annual report.

The RPC and Marine Products annual meeting had Ben Palmer and Randall Rollins at the head table. Richard Hubbell, Gary Rollins and JIm Landers listened on the front row (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Rollins holds its annual meeting on the same day as its two related companies – Marine Products Corp., which met at noon and lasted six minutes; and RPC Inc., which met at 12:15 p.m. and lasted seven minutes. There actually were nine people in the room for those two meetings.

The Rollins annual meeting began at 12:30 p.m., and it only lasted eight minutes, which is normal for the company. Rarely do the executives give an update on how the companies are performing and what lies ahead.

Because there is substantial overlap of directors and executives among all three companies, it makes sense to bunch the meetings together.

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Maria Saporta
Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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