A pension fund that holds a 20% stake in Maple Leaf Foods has seen its two representatives on the Canadian group’s board quit due to disagreement over the company’s planned revamp.

Maple Leaf said today (28 October) that Wayne Kozun and William Royan of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan had resigned from its board, a decision that stems from the bakery and meat processor’s restructuring programme.

Kozun and Royan stepped down after the Maple Leaf board confirmed the minutes of a previous meeting in which the company’s reorganisation plans had been “unanimously approved”, Maple Leaf said.

The company said the two directors had asked that the minutes be amended to show that their prior approval for the plan had been subject to Maple Leaf’s management studying “pre-funding options” for the revamp – including the sale of the group’s Rothsay rendering business. Maple Leaf said its board had last month told management to complete the study of whether to sell Rothsay by the end of November.

James Hankinson, chair of Maple Leaf’s corporate governance committee, said: “The board has accepted these resignations but the reasons given for them seem to be inconsistent with Mr. Kozun’s and Mr. Royan’s repeated support for the company’s strategy.

“The board unanimously approved the strategic plan including a requirement that management examine whether partial pre-funding of the plan is warranted. At no time was the approval of the plan conditional upon the outcome of the review.”

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In August, Teachers sold one-third of its shareholding in Maple Leaf – around 10% of the company’s shares – to hedge fund West Face Capital. Teachers took a 36.3% stake in Maple Leaf after it backed the McCain family’s takeover of the business in 1995.

However, some industry watchers had indicated that investors could be apprehensive about the level of capital expenditure set out under Maple Leaf’s restructuring plans. The company plans to spend C$755m (US$739.3m) on capital investment.

Earlier today, Maple Leaf recorded a third-quarter loss of over C$16m as costs linked to the restructuring hit its bottom line. The company said adjusted operating earnings, which exclude the costs and other one-off charges, were up 2%.

President and CEO Michael McCain said Maple Leaf had made “steady progress” that “reflects our focus on near-term value creation and implementing initiatives across our businesses to increase margins and growth that are expected to deliver significant return to shareholders now and through 2015”.