According to Heinz, the preliminary results of the proxy vote indicate that Heinz management has retained ten of the 12 seats on its board of directors.
Management of HJ Heinz Co and dissident shareholders, led by activist-investor Nelson Peltz, entered into a bitter proxy battle as Peltz’s Train Group attempted to gain representation on the ketchup maker’s board. Trian accused Heinz of failing to drive shareholder value and improve the company’s performance.
Heinz said that it believes the following directors were re-elected: Charles E. Bunch, Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., John G. Drosdick, Edith E. Holiday, William R. Johnson, Candace Kendle, Dean R. O’Hare, Dennis H. Reilley, Lynn C. Swann and Thomas J. Usher.
The preliminary results also indicated that Trian Group’s nominees Nelson Peltz and Michael F. Weinstein would be elected to the board.
Both sides have claimed the result legitimises their plans for the company.
William R. Johnson, Heinz chairman, president and CEO commented: “The Heinz board will be focused on executing our plan. We are confident that we have the brands and the people to build on our business momentum and create a strong and prosperous future for Heinz. I look forward to moving ahead constructively and working closely with the board to enhance shareholder value.
Meanwhile, Trian said in a written statement: “There is clearly a desire for positive change at Heinz”. The vote represents a “mandate shareholders have given us to help reinvigorate Heinz and unlock the full value of its iconic brands,” the group of hedge funds continued, adding that Peltz and Weinstein are “eager” to begin working with the company.