AGRIUM ELECTS TWO NEW INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS, PROVIDES UPDATE ON ATTEMPTED SETTLEMENT WITH JANA
Feb. 12, 2013
Source: Agrium news release
Agrium Inc. (TSX and NYSE: AGU) announced today that it has appointed David Everitt and Mayo Schmidt to its Board of Directors.
"Agrium is pleased to welcome two strong, uniquely qualified, independent directors with extensive agricultural, retail and distribution experience to its Board," said Victor Zaleschuk, Board Chair.
"David Everitt and Mayo Schmidt each have distinguished track records in the agricultural sector and have overseen the creation of significant shareholder value during their careers.
"Agrium will benefit from Mr. Everitt's in-depth knowledge of the agricultural sector, obtained over his 37-year career. Mr. Schmidt is widely recognized for leading Viterra's transformation from a regionally based cooperative into Canada's largest agricultural inputs retailer and a leading global agricultural and food ingredients company."
Biographies of the New Directors
David Everitt recently retired as President, Agricultural Division for North America, Australia, Asian and Global Tractor Sourcing, Turf Products and Technology for Deere & Company of Moline, Illinois. He is intimately familiar with procurement, marketing and distribution in the global agricultural market space. In this role, Mr. Everitt had responsibility for global tractor and crop care products.
With Deere & Company since 1975, Mr. Everitt was previously President, Agricultural Division, Europe, Africa, South America and Global Harvesting Equipment Sourcing, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Region II, Europe, Africa and CIS and Vice President, Region I, Worldwide Agricultural Equipment Division. He is a director of Brunswick Corporation and Harsco Corporation, both of which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, and is also a board member of the National Business Aviation Association, a Washington DC based non-profit industry group.
Mayo Schmidt was President and Chief Executive Officer, and a Director of Viterra Inc., a global agri-business with a network of 263 agricultural retail locations. Prior to its acquisition by Glencore International plc on December 18, 2012, Viterra was the only publicly-traded agricultural retailer of fertilizer, crop chemicals and seed in North America, other than Agrium.
During his tenure, Mr. Schmidt developed the vision and strategy to transform the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool from a regional cooperative to Viterra, a $6.1-billion global corporation. Canadian Business Magazine recognized his efforts when it named him Chief Executive of the Year in 2009. The hallmarks of Mr. Schmidt's leadership at Viterra were strong shareholder value creation and growth into new markets, supported by a global intelligence network, a strong financial foundation and a steady focus on operational excellence.
Prior to joining Viterra, he was Executive Vice President, Domestic and International Operations, Conagra Foods Inc. Mr. Schmidt is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executive Officers (open to the top 150 Canadian corporations), a member of Washburn University's Board of Trustees and the Lincoln Society, and a contributor to Harvard University's Private and Public, Scientific, Academic and Consumer Food Policy Group. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Transportation Hub Authority.
In advance of announcing these directors, Agrium reached out to JANA in order to determine whether there was a basis for resolution of the proxy battle, even though Agrium is confident that JANA will not be successful.
The parties discussed settlement for three days premised upon JANA's agreement to stand down from its pursuit of a break up of Agrium, along with its other activist initiatives, in return for JANA naming one of its director nominees to the Agrium Board of Directors. After agreeing, at the last minute, JANA reneged and insisted on two director nominees. As a result, discussions terminated.
"We are disappointed in JANA's decision to prolong this fight which it is certain to lose. Shareholders are clearly not supportive of JANA's initiative to break up Agrium," said Michael Wilson.
Update on Recent Meetings With Shareholders
On January 28, Agrium hosted a 4.5 hour meeting with sell-side analysts in New York. The event and associated presentation were also made available to the media and investing public via webcast. Hosted by Agrium's Corporate and Retail executives, the Analyst Day provided a thorough review of the Company's integrated business strategy, a deep dive into its Retail Business and a review of JANA's contrived and flawed ideas about Agrium. Since then, Agrium has met with 67 institutional shareholders across Canada and the United States, including 80% of Agrium's top 60 actively managed institutional shareholders. Shareholders overwhelmingly support the continuation of Agrium's highly successful integrated strategy.
Agrium Inc. is a major Retail supplier of agricultural products and services in North America, South America and Australia and a leading global Wholesale producer and marketer of all three major agricultural nutrients and the premier supplier of specialty fertilizers in North America through our Advanced Technologies business unit. Agrium's strategy is to provide the crop inputs and services needed to feed a growing world. We focus on maximizing shareholder returns by driving continuous improvements to our base businesses, pursuing value-added growth opportunities across the crop input value chain and returning capital to shareholders.