Pitney Bowes shareholders have elected four directors proposed by Hestia Capital Management amid proxy battle that criticized the company's capital allocation and leadership.
Hestia made waves in November 2022 when they leveraged their sizeable stake in Pitney Bowes to push for a capital allocation review and urged the company to explore selling off the global ecommerce segment to focus on more profitable parts of the business like mail aggregation and postage meter sales.
The pressure continued and headed toward a proxy fight as Hestia moved to take control of the board and oust CEO Marc Lautenbach.
Hestia claimed the board had failed to address the company’s value-destructive strategy and failed leadership while perpetuating certain governance issues and existing Pitney Bowes board members called out Hestia for not being sincere in efforts to resolve disagreements.
The shareholder vote on Tuesday elected four of the five board nominees put forward by Hestia. Three other directors, including Pitney Bowes Chief Executive Marc Lautenbach, were re-elected and two directors nominated by Pitney Bowes were also selected.
“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,” a Pitney Bowes spokesperson said Tuesday.
Although Hestia didn’t win a majority on the board, the vote opens the door for them to continue to pursue efforts to rollback Pitney Bowes’s ecommerce business strategy and push for leadership changes. Hestia has said it plans to improve the company’s finances before reviewing strategic alternatives for the e-commerce business.
Kurt Wolf, founder and chief investment officer of Hestia, thanked shareholders who had engaged with Hestia and its nominees, saying their input would benefit them as they worked with the existing board members “to spur a value-generating turnaround at Pitney Bowes.”
“We greatly appreciate our fellow stockholders for voting to elect four Hestia-nominated director candidates. Now that this election contest is over, all of our time can be devoted to strengthening the company,” he said.
“Our slate believes it has been given a mandate for constructive, positive change,” said Mr. Wolf, “and we look forward to working with our fellow directors to deliver on that mandate over the near-term and long-term.”