Carl Icahn may seek change at Xerox

Dec 11, 2017
Originally published on December 11, 2017 7:35 pm

There may be some big changes on the way for Xerox’s Board of Directors.

The word came early Monday with Xerox announcing that Jonathan Christodoro, a board member who was originally appointed by activist investor Carl Icahn, is resigning. Christodoro is making that move so that he can join a slate of three other Icahn-backed nominees to run for the Xerox board next year.

In a letter to company officials, Christodoro says that the Xerox Board has been addressing issues he considers vital to the company’s future, and until the last few weeks, it appeared the Board’s decisions would be consistent with his views. But Christodoro says it now appears the board will take Xerox in a direction with which he strongly disagrees.

Icahn owns nearly 10 percent of the company, and at Brighton Securities, chairman George Conboy says this may be an indication Icahn wants to make some changes at Xerox.

“The agreement Icahn had with Xerox was essentially a form of a truce; that is, give us a seat on your board of directors and we won’t come after you. At this point, with the resignation of a director and Icahn’s indication that he plans to seek four board seats, what Icahn is saying to Xerox is, we’re coming for you,” Conboy told WXXI News.

The Wall Street Journal said that in an interview Icahn indicated he is looking for management changes at Xerox, saying that, "We believe Xerox still has potential, but it will go the way of Kodak if there aren't major changes."  He also told the paper that, "The times have changed but not the old guard that controls the board."

Xerox issued a statement saying that since it split from the business services unit a year ago, it has delivered on commitments to shareholders, and has seen the stock price rise this year by almost 30 percent.

The company says the corporate governance committee of the Xerox board will carefully review the Icahn-backed nominees for director and will make a formal recommendation when it releases the annual proxy statement.