Stada faces down its proxy brawler with 4 board nominees of its own

Stada

Just days after an activist investor officially launched a proxy war, Stada is out with its own list of new candidates for its supervisory board.

Wednesday, the German drugmaker unveiled a slate of four nominees it believes are “highly suitable for the responsibilities” of the boardroom, Chairman Martin Abend said in a statement. It’s putting forth Tina Mueller, chief marketing officer at Opel and a veteran of L’Oreal; Gunner Riemann, a previous head of Bayer’s Environmental Science unit; Rolf Hoffmann, a former SVP of U.S. commercial ops at Amgen; and Birgit Kudlek, a one-time COO at Aenova.

If Stada gets its way, the four will be voted into the boardroom for 5-year terms at the company’s annual meeting in late August, taking the place of Eckhard Brüggemann, K. F. Arnold Hertzsch, Dieter Koch and Constantin Meyer, the company said. They’ll join two current directors--Abend and Deputy Chairman Carl Ferdinand Oetker--to make up a board that’s two-thirds new blood.

If rebel shareholder Active Ownership Capital has anything to say about it, though, Stada won’t get its way. Friday, it called on Stada’s larger shareholders to help pick out their own supervisory board candidates “[B]ased on the private feedback we received from fellow shareholders, we believe that at least 20% of Stada’s shareholder base will support our case,” cofounder Klaus Röhrig told The Wall Street Journal.

Stada and Active Ownership appeared to have reached a compromise back in May; Active Ownership would have replaced just three board members, instead of the 5 it initially wanted. But shortly thereafter, Stada announced that it would make its own picks for replacement candidates.

Meanwhile, the company has seen some other changes at the top, thanks to new chief Matthias Wiedenfels, who took over the top spot just over a month ago when longtime CEO Hartmut Retzlaff stepped down for health reasons. Last week, Reuters reported that Wiedenfels had stripped Retzlaff’s son, Steffen, of some of his duties and sent a group of external advisers packing.

- read Stada's release
- see the WSJ story (sub. req.)

Special Report: Top 20 generics companies by 2014 revenue - Stada Arzneimittel

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