The former chief executive officer of a Northeastern insurer has unveiled plans for the new board of directors that he is trying to install in place of the current board.
Herbert Kurz, the founder, director and former chairman and chief executive officer of Presidential Life Corp., Nyack, N.Y., (Nasdaq:PLFE) says his nominees, if elected to a majority of Presidential Life's board seats by company shareholders, intend to "explore strategic alternatives in an effort to maximize shareholder value."
If the Kurz nominees are elected, the board will form a new strategic alternatives committee that will be authorized to retain an independent financial advisor to assist it in evaluating such alternatives, Kurz says.
Kurz has been conducting a consent solicitation to remove without cause all of Presidential Life's directors other than himself.
"I am the largest individual holder of the company's stock, owning more than 8% of the outstanding shares," Kurz says in a statement. "The Kurz Family Foundation, a charitable foundation, currently owns an additional 18.6% of the Company's shares, after giving effect to charitable donations of 661,000 shares late last month....
"I and my family's charitable foundation have a major economic interest in Presidential Life and the value of its shares. In sharp contrast, the eight incumbent directors I am seeking to remove from office in my consent solicitation own, in the aggregate, less than 1% of the Company's shares. I am extremely pleased that my slate of highly-qualified and independent nominees is publicly committing to a course of action intended to maximize value for all shareholders.
One of the Kurz board nominees is Dan Theriault, an insurance industry investor and investment analyst.
"There are a number of alternatives that the newly-formed Strategic Alternatives Committee should consider, including, at the appropriate time, a sale of the entire company," Theriault says. "All options will be on the table in our effort to maximize shareholder value."
Presidential Life has responded with a press statement describing Kurz' plans as "self-serving" and a "marked departure" from statements Kurz previously has issued about the company's strategic direction.
"Mr. Kurz has never before recommended this course of action, either within the boardroom or otherwise," Presidential Life says in the release. "The Company believes that Mr. Kurz's statement about the formation of a 'strategic alternative committee' is nothing more than a last-minute tactic devised by Mr. Kurz as part of his ill-conceived effort to reinstall himself as CEO."
"Today's announcement is out of line with previous statements by Mr. Kurz and underscores the fact that he has no strategic plan to offer," says William Trust Jr., lead independent director of Presidential Life, commented. "As Mr. Kurz well knows, the Board of Directors is keenly aware of its fiduciary duties and routinely evaluates the Company's strategic options on an ongoing basis. At this time, the Board is focused on delivering against its previously announced three-year strategic plan and generating value for all its stockholders."