Exclusive: Pitney Bowes shareholders elect four Hestia Capital board candidates

Exclusive: Pitney Bowes shareholders elect four Hestia Capital board candidates

NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) – Pitney Bowes Inc (PBI.N) on Tuesday said shareholders elected four director candidates proposed by Hestia Capital Management amid a boardroom challenge that criticized the shipping and mailing company’s capital allocation and lagging share price.

Hestia, which owns 8.5% of the company, nominated five candidates and pushed for the company to explore alternative strategies for the global ecommerce segment and focus on cash-generating segments like its mail aggregation business and postage meter unit.

Reuters reported earlier on Tuesday that shareholders were poised to elect the dissident directors.

Hestia also said it wanted to replace Marc Lautenbach, the company’s chief executive officer. He was re-elected to the board.

Shareholders elected Katie May plus Hestia’s founder and portfolio manager Kurt Wolf as well as Todd Everett and Milena Alberti-Perez.

Pitney Bowes’ share price rose 4.7% in morning trading while the broader market was down.

The company added two new directors in March, said three incumbent directors would leave and backed the election of dissident nominee May.

“We welcome all new directors, including the nominees of Hestia Capital Partners, and look forward to working with them constructively on the future of the company and on behalf of all shareholders,” Pitney Bowes spokesman Bill Hughes said.

Wolf thanked investors for backing the dissident nominees and said, “Our slate believes it has been given a mandate for constructive, positive change – and we look forward to working with our fellow directors to deliver on that mandate over the near term and long term.”

It received support from all proxy advisory firms, with recommendations to elect several Hestia nominees. ISS, the biggest proxy advisor, wrote that change is necessary on the board because Pitney Bowes has a “history of failing to deliver on important self-established expectations.”

Pitney Bowes is valued at $526 million, down from its peak of $2 billion when Lautenbach joined in 2012.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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