Lee Enterprises (NYSE:LEE)
Historical Stock Chart
6 Months : From Apr 2019 to Oct 2019
ALTA, Wyo., April 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --
The Trend is Positive for Shareholders
At the 2016 annual general meeting for Lee Enterprises, Inc. ("LEE") incumbent directors Mary Junck, Herb Moloney, and Kevin Mowbray received 97% average approval from shareholders. At the 2019 meeting held February 20, approval for these three decreased to an average of 83%, a decline of 14% on a relative basis. Cannell Capital LLC ("Cannell") would posit that this is due to its campaign on behalf of all shareholders to vote "No" to LEE's tired and stale board.
ISS and Glass Lewis Agree with Cannell
Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis were both unanimous in their recommendation that LEE recruit new directors to the Board. This is what Cannell has been requesting for many months.
As of April 22, 2019, no directors have arrived. A retained search firm has interviewed the candidates of Cannell, but it is the opinion of Cannell that LEE is not interested in (i) owners enjoying greater representation on the Board; or (ii) upgrading the Board.
Moreover, shareholders should be frustrated that LEE's Corporate Governance Guidelines are clear that no director should be nominated to serve a new term if he or she would be at or above age 70 at the time of election. As of today, three of LEE's nine directors are over 70. Although these guidelines do specify an expectation for "extraordinary circumstances," shareholders should ask LEE what are these extraordinary circumstances which cause a full one third of the Board to violate its own guidelines. Are there really any extraordinary circumstances?
Cannell has received robust interest as to LEE from angry and injured shareholders. Cannell is gratified that its campaign on behalf of all shareholders was successful in applying pressure and revealing facts.
The window for new shareholder nominations to LEE's Board of Directors closes on September 24, 2019.
In the meantime, this owner is disappointed by what appears to be a sham search process. Should some fresh blood appear, this shareholder suspects that it will take the form of a meek candidate hand-picked by the entrenched incumbents.
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SOURCE Cannell Capital LLC