Keith Meister of Corvex Management, Williams’ fourth-largest shareholder, plans to nominate up to ten candidates to replace Williams’ entire board of directors.
The nominations will be Corvex employees who will act as stand-ins for potential board members while Meister and others spend a few months finding replacements.
Unhappy with the current board who he says shows “blind loyalty” to CEO Alan Armstrong, Meister has worked unsuccessfully to persuade Williams to create a plan that would place a majority of new directors on the board by May 18. He was also disappointed with Williams’ rejection of Enterprise Products Partners’ bid to potentially take over the company earlier this summer.
The deadline to nominate replacements for the board is Thursday.
Williams responded to Meister’s plan by pointing to its previously announced plan to add three new independent directors to its board. The company said it would consider Meister’s placeholder board plan.
Meister is one of the few board members who resigned after the failed merger of Williams with Energy Transfer after the majority of the board refused to oust their current CEO Alan Armstrong. Meister, a long-time critic of Armstrong, reported in a letter at the time of his resignation that Armstrong was “incapable of maximizing shareholder value.”
Williams has reported in the last month that it has taken steps to restructure by selling assets to reduce debt loads and investing more than $1.5 billion in its master limited partnership Williams Partners.