The board of US food group HJ Heinz Company has approved a change to its Articles of Incorporation that would require approval of the election of directors in uncontested elections by a majority vote of shareholders.

The company currently operates under a plurality voting standard, where the directors who receive the most “for” votes are elected. This amendment will be put to shareholders for ratification at the company’s 2007 annual meeting.

The board also adopted a policy under which it will seek shareholder approval within one year in the event it adopts a shareholder rights plan, commonly known as a “poison pill”.

“These actions are consistent with Heinz’s commitment to good corporate governance,” said president and CEO William R Johnson. “Furthermore, Heinz is focused on executing our plan to enhance shareholder value and accelerate growth, and is firmly on track to achieve 10% earnings growth and its target of US$2.35 for the year.”

Heinz has also confirmed that it expects to expand the board from 12 to 14 directors in the near future.