Having come to terms with his once-dissident shareholders, New York Times Company Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is being downright friendly in introducing his newfound friends to fellow shareholders. In his cover letter inviting shareholders to the company’s April 26th annual meeting, Sulzberger says he is delighted to have four new nominees to the board of directors, including the two nominated by the Harbinger hedge fund and Firebrand Partners.
Brenda Barnes and James Kilts will not be standing for re-election to the board. Sulzberger thanked them for their service and wished them well. Their two seats will be filled at the annual shareholders meeting, along with two new ones added to accommodate the Harbinger/Firebrand nominees.
“We are delighted to add four new nominees for election by our stockholders this year, Robert Denham, Dawn Lepore, Scott Galloway and James A. Kohlberg. Mr. Denham is a partner in the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, having previously served as Managing Partner, and from 1992-1998 he served as the Chairman and CEO of Salomon Inc, where he brought great discipline, integrity and credibility to his role as that investment firm was rebuilding. Ms. Lepore serves as the Chairman, President and CEO of drugstore.com, inc., a public company that is an online source for more than 30,000 health, beauty and wellness products. She is highly respected with deep experience in the digital world and relationships in both Silicon Valley and the Seattle technology community. Mr. Galloway is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Firebrand Partners LLC, an investment firm with extensive domain expertise in retail operations and brand management. He is also a founder of RedEnvelope Inc., an Internet-based branded consumer gift retailer, and Clinical Associate Professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy. Mr. Kohlberg is Chairman of Kohlberg & Company, a leading middle market private equity firm which he co-founded in 1987, and a director of Kohlberg Capital Corporation. He currently serves as Chairman of the Helium Group LLC (d/b/a HalogenGuides.com) and ClearEdge Power,” Sulzberger said in his letter. By the way, Galloway and Kohlberg are the Harbinger/Firebrand nominees.
Denham, Galloway and Kohlberg are standing for election to five seats elected by holders of the publicly traded Class A stock, along with incumbents Thomas Middelhoff and Doreen A. Toben. Lepore is nominated to one of the 10 seats elected by holders of the Class B stock, primarily members of the Ochs-Sulzberger family. Former FCC Chairman Bill Kennard is one of the Class B directors due to be re-elected. Along with Sulzberger himself, the others are CEO Janet Robinson, Raul E. Cesan, Daniel H. Cohen, Lynn G. Dolnick, Michael Golden, David E. Liddle and Ellen R. Marram. Cohen, Golden, Dolnick and Sulzberger are cousins.
RBR/TVBR observation: Don’t look for any fireworks at this annual meeting, despite the dismal state of the US newspaper business. It should be quite a different story two days earlier at the Media General shareholders meeting. CEO Marshall Morton, with the support of the founding Bryan family, is in an outright battle to keep three Harbinger nominees off the board of directors (3/20/08 TVBR #56).