Lowe’s builds board quickly after activist interest

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Lowe’s builds board quickly after activist interest

By Mike Troy - 01/19/2018
The three new members of Lowe's board include David H. Batchelder, co-founder of Relational Investors, Lisa W. Wardell, CEO of Adtalem Global Education and Brian C. Rogers, chairman of T. Rowe Price Group.

When Nelson Peltz acquired a stake in Procter & Gamble and sought a seat on the board, a lengthy proxy battle ensued and Peltz prevailed. Lowe’s took a more constructive approach that could serve as a model for similarly situated companies.

At the urging of an activist investor firm D.E. Shaw which earlier this month accumulated an ownership interest in the home improvement retailer, Lowe’s moved quickly to add three new board members.

The three new board members include David H. Batchelder, co-founder of Relational Investors, Lisa W. Wardell, CEO of Adtalem Global Education, Brian C. Rogers, chairman of T. Rowe Price Group.

"We are pleased to welcome David, Brian and Lisa as new independent directors to the Lowe's board and especially value the constructive discussions we have had with the D. E. Shaw group," said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO, referring to the $46 billion global investment and technology development firm. "They join Lowe's at an exciting time as we continue to drive our omni-channel strategy forward and build deeper relationships with pro customers to fulfill our purpose of helping people love where they live. The addition of these directors complements our board of directors' skills and experiences, and we are confident they will provide valuable perspectives as we continue to execute our strategy, drive profitability and enhance value for all Lowe's shareholders. We look forward to their contributions and are excited they chose Lowe's.

Lowe’s approach contrasts sharply with that of Procter & Gamble which engaged in a lengthy, expensive and high profile proxy batter to keep activist investor Nelson Peltz off of its board. After an extremely close shareholder vote and a lengthy recount process, Peltz joined the board.

“We appreciate Lowe's collaborative approach and are pleased to have worked together to enhance the company's board of directors," said Quentin Koffey, a portfolio manager at the D. E. Shaw group. "Lowe's is an excellent company with tremendous value creation opportunities in front of it, and we believe the new directors will be significant assets to the board.  We believe the refreshed board and the management team are committed to achieving outstanding performance and maximizing shareholder value.”