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Glass Lewis report favours Voce in Argo dispute

15th May 2019 - Author: Charlie Wood

Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. has sided with Voce Capital Management in its ongoing dispute with specialty re/insurer Argo.

Daniel Plants

Daniel Plants, Founder of Voce

The firm recommends that shareholders vote to install Charles Dangelo and Nicholas Walsh to Argo’s Board, whilst at the same time recommending that current Chairman Gary Woods be removed.

Argo, who yesterday received support from independent shareholder advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), has issued a statement disagreeing with Glass Lewis’ conclusion.

Argo do, however, agree with Glass Lewis’ conclusion that the company has, “delivered TSR performance that is in-line with peers or, alternatively, considerably outperformed relative to peers over the last three and five years.”

Concurrently, and also in a statement released today, Voce says Glass Lewis affirms its views on several of Argo’s “inferior” corporate governance practices and the need for change at the company, specifically regarding Argo’s corporate expenses and Board oversight.

“Glass Lewis also endorsed many of the ideas to unlock shareholder value at Argo that Voce has presented. In reaching its conclusion that shareholders should back Voce’s case for change at Argo,” Voce’s statement reads.

A back-and-forth between the two companies has been ongoing since February of this year, when Voce accused Argo’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark E. Watson III of perpetuating “shockingly high and shockingly inappropriate” corporate expenses over the last decade.

Subsequently, Voce said it intended to nominate four independent Director candidates.

Argo had since called on its shareholders to back its own nominees and vote down Voce’s nominations, describing the proxy contest as an attempt to push a “short term agenda.”

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