Investor proposes new Hess board

Losing chairmanship: Hess chief John Hess

The activist investor engaged in a proxy battle with Hess has reportedly proposed a new board for the US oil producer that would include all nominees put forward by both sides ahead of a vote in a few days’ time.

Hedge fund Elliott Management, which owns a 4.5% stake in Hess, is running a slate of five directors against Hess' nominees. Shareholders will vote at the company's annual meeting on 16 May.

"Shareholders want real change and a renewed board. Hess has promised such renewal and this solution will follow through on that promise," Elliott said in a statement cited by Reuters on Tuesday.

Hess's board currently comprises 13 members, according to the company's website.

Elliott Management said the size and composition of its proposed board had yet to be decided.

Hess said on Monday that it was prepared to add two of Elliott's nominees, chosen in consultation with shareholders, if all of its own nominees are elected. Elliott Management called the proposal a "PR stunt".

Elliott in January pitched a plan to break up Hess and launched a campaign to install the new directors. The hedge fund has said that directors are too closely tied to chief executive John Hess.

The company, in response, said that Hess would be stripped of his chairmanship immediately after the annual meeting.

Hess has put forward a former General Electric executive, John Krenicki, as chairman. Hess will remain chief executive and a director.

The company has announced plans to exit its retail gasoline, marketing and trading businesses, and is looking to become a pure play exploration and production company.

 

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