A day after Newell Brands announced a deal with billionaire investor Carl Icahn, activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP said its four nominees for Newell’s board of directors are withdrawing their nominations.
The four— Ian Ashken, Domenico De Sole, Martin Franklin, and James Lillie— had sought positions on the board with the backing of Starboard, which owns approximately 4.5% of Newell Brands. Previous reports indicated that Starboard was looking to have Lillie replace current Newell CEO Michael Polk and have Franklin serve as board chairman.
Starboard said in a statement that the four would now pursue other opportunities.
“When Ian, Domenico and I resigned from the board in January, we did so consistent with our belief that management and the board were unwilling to recognize and ill-equipped to deal with, the strategic and execution issues facing the company,” said Franklin. “We believe that our collective actions have moved the company substantially.”
On Monday, March 19, Newell and Icahn, who owns 6.9% of company shares, reached an agreement and the company agreed to appoint four Icahn designees to Newell’s board of directors. One of those nominees, Patrick Campbell, will also serve as board chairman.
As part of the agreement, Icahn has agreed to vote all of his shares in favor of the Newell Brands nominees at the 2018 annual meeting of stockholders.