Genesco Inc.’s board has gained three new retail industry veterans — none of whom were part of the pool nominated by an investment management firm last month.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based company said today that it has named new independent directors: Angel Martinez, former chairman and CEO of Deckers Brands; Mary Meixelsperger, CFO of oil manufacturer Valvoline and former CFO of DSW; and Greg Sandfort, former CEO of Tractor Supply Company.
The move comes a month after Legion Partners Asset Management LLC informed the company of its intention to nominate a controlling slate of seven individuals for election to the board of directors. Legion, which owns about 5.6% of outstanding common shares of GCO, said in a statement at the time that the company had failed to make progress.
Genesco refuted that sentiment, telling FN that under Mimi Vaughn’s leadership as CEO, the stock increased 35% from Jan. 31, 2020 through yesterday’s close. In addition, the stock has risen over 200% the past year, ending trading yesterday at $52.99.
In another statement today, Genesco wrote, “The committee noted, among other concerns, that Legion’s candidates lack the relevant skills, experience, track records and leadership to serve on Genesco’s board. Throughout Genesco’s board refreshment process, which intensified last year prior to Legion’s recent investment and current campaign, the company has repeatedly offered Legion an opportunity to participate, but Legion has consistently rebuffed Genesco’s efforts to engage constructively.”
Along with the appointments, current directors Kathleen Mason and Marty Dickens will retire at the start of Genesco’s annual shareholders meeting, which has yet to be scheduled. At that time, the board will be comprised of nine directors — the majority of which will have been members since 2019.
According to the retail group, the updates and changes will “strengthen the skillset, enhance the diversity and substantially reduce the average tenure” of the board, which will be five years following the annual meeting. (That is below the average in the S&P 500.)
In a statement, board chair, president and CEO Mimi Vaughn called Martinez, Meixelsperger and Sandfort “three seasoned retail and brand executives who bring tremendous knowledge and experience into the boardroom and whose perspectives will be invaluable as we work to accelerate Genesco’s transformation as a footwear-focused company and capitalize on synergies to drive growth and profitability across our portfolio.”