Corvex looking for Williams Cos board changes within one year
By Michael Erman and Mike Stone
Aug 3 (Reuters) – Williams Cos Inc shareholder Corvex Management LP has asked the U.S. oiland gas pipeline company to revamp its board with a majority of new directors by replacing members or adding new ones, a regulatory filing on Wednesday showed.
Corvex, a New York-based hedge fund led by Keith Meister, urged Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams to make the changes within one year, it said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
On July 15, Williams said it was seeking highly qualified director candidates, weeks after six of its 13 directors, including company Chairman Frank MacInnis, resigned following a failed attempt to oust Chief Executive Alan Armstrong.
A representative for Williams declined to comment.
Another Williams shareholder, hedge fund Soroban Capital Partners LLC, is no longer working with Corvex to press for management changes, the filing said. Meister, a protege of Carl Icahn, and Soroban founder Eric Mandelblatt became Williams directors in 2014 after joining forces in an activist campaign to enhance the company’s value.
Kathleen Cooper, one of the seven board members who remained after the resignations in June, replaced MacInnis as chairman.
The resignations came a day after Energy Transfer Equity walked away from its more than $20 billion deal to buy Williams following months of lawsuits and heated arguments between the companies.
A Delaware judge had ruled that ETE could terminate the deal over tax issues.
(Reporting by Michael Erman and Mike Stone in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Richard Chang)