Investment Firm Aims To Remove AkzoNobel Chairman

The firm said that it "has irretrievably lost confidence" in supervisory board chairman Antony Burgmans.

A major stakeholder in Dutch chemical and paint giant AkzoNobel last week sought to remove its board chairman following another rejection of a takeover bid by U.S. rival PPG.

Investment firm Elliott Advisors requested that a court compel the company to hold a shareholder meeting and said that it "has irretrievably lost confidence" in supervisory board chairman Antony Burgmans.

The firm, which said it represented a 9.5 percent share of the company, noted that a request for a shareholder meeting was rejected by the company earlier this year in "an extraordinary case of shareholder disenfranchisement."

"Elliott finds Chairman Burgmans' views on shareholder democracy to be archaic and wholly unacceptable in today's capital markets," the firm said in a statement.

Elliott previously sought to remove chief executive Ton Buchner from his post after AkzoNobel rejected PPG's third offer for the company.

Last week's statement also included the results of a shareholder survey commissioned by the firm, which found that "the vast majority of respondents are dissatisfied with the leadership of AkzoNobel" and that all participants supported convening a shareholder meeting.

AkzoNobel said that PPG's latest offer, which came in at $29 billion, undervalued the company. Officials also expressed concern about possible regulatory hurdles and questioned PPG's sustainability efforts.

Company leaders also maintained that the AkzoNobel could achieve growth by spinning off its chemical operations, but investors called on the company to consider the offer and criticized efforts to go it alone in an era of industry consolidation.

"A board which holds itself accountable to no one is not an appropriate governance paradigm," Elliott Advisors said. "If shareholders are not able to regulate the conduct of AkzoNobel's Boards, who can?"

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