Arconic Names Two Directors Ahead of Board Vote

By David Benoit Features Dow Jones Newswires

Arconic Inc. added two more new directors just weeks ahead of its board vote, pushing back against activist investor Elliott Management Corp.

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Weeks after the abrupt ouster of its Chairman and Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld over a bizarre letter he wrote to Elliott's founder, the aerospace and automotive parts maker has named former Boeing Co. executive James F. Albaugh and Air Force retired General Janet C. Wolfenbarger to its board. Those additions bring to three its number of new directors since the fight started in January.

As part of the move, Ratan Tata, of the famed Indian conglomerate family, will be stepping down, keeping Arconic's board at 13 members. The annual meeting is now scheduled for May 25.

Elliott is running a slate of four nominees and has argued forcefully the board needs turnover, even after the exit of Mr. Kleinfeld, whose leadership had taken the brunt of their criticism. Elliott last week took aim at the board's judgment for its handling of Mr. Kleinfeld.

The sides neared a settlement last month for two seats, but the talks broke down on what roles Elliott's nominees would have, including the formation of a committee to oversee operations.

Elliott and Arconic are sparring now over which board slate is more trustworthy to run a search process for the CEO and set the strategy for the future of the company, which had formerly been Alcoa Inc. until a split last fall.

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Arconic's new nominees double down on the company's argument that its strategy is winning it business with customers. Mr. Albaugh was president and CEO of Boeing's commercial airlines unit and a board member at Harris Corp., and American Airlines Group Inc. Gen. Wolfenbarger is a four-star general who was in charge of procurement and ran a giant budget at the Air Force, including much of Arconic's work.

Write to David Benoit at david.benoit@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2017 08:59 ET (12:59 GMT)