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Maple Leaf to revamp its board

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has begun a process to revamp its board of directors as the restructuring meat processor faces calls for reforms following the departure of a former major investor.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has begun a process to revamp its board of directors as the restructuring meat processor faces calls for reforms following the departure of a former major investor.

The Toronto-based meat and bakery company said yesterday a committee of its board is soliciting shareholder input as it searches for new director candidates.

“We are looking forward to engaging with our shareholders, and making changes that further strengthen our ability to provide oversight to ensure this company maximizes sustainable return to shareholder,” committee chairman James Hankinson said in a statement.

At least one shareholder — activist hedge fund West Face Capital Inc. — has complained that the Maple Leaf board is too big and alleges some of the directors are too closely involved on a personal level with the McCain family, which has control through special voting rights.

West Face acquired a 10 per cent stake from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board in August. The OTPPB, which had been one of Maple Leaf’s major shareholders in partnership with the McCains, later withdrew its two representatives from Maple Leaf and sold its remaining 25 per cent stake in November for $362.4 million, a 17 per cent discount to the market price.

 
 
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