Hawaiian Electric to Activist Fund: We’re Not Looking Outside for New Leader

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The company blasted ValueAct for its call to seek a successor to its CEO.

Hawaiian Electric slammed activist hedge fund ValueAct this week. The company responded to the activist fund’s call to locate a successor for its President and CEO Constance Lau.  ValueAct has a $50 million stake in the company.

According to Bloomberg, ValueAct sent a letter to Hawaiian Electric earlier this week. The hedge fund said it thinks that the company should start looking outside for a new CEO. Lau has been with the company for 35 years. She has been CEO for 13 years.

The company responded by calling ValueAct’s letter a “misguided, factually inaccurate and misleading attack.”

The ValueAct Letter to Hawaiian Electric

In addition to the call for a succession plan, the activist hedge fund encouraged the company to undergo a cultural shift.

“The company is at an inflection point where management can be driven either by more of the same inertia or, alternatively, by innovative, forward-looking thinking and action,” wrote ValueAct CEO Jeff Ubben.

Ubben also raised concerns about the company’s ability to meet its renewable energy goals. Lau, however, told investors during a November 1 earnings call that the firm was on track to hit its targets. The company wants to generate 30% of its power from renewable sources by 2030. Its goal is to generate 100% of its energy from these sources by 2045.

Ubben, however, doubted the firm would meet its 2022 target of 50% renewables. Further, he went on to state that executives receive a lot of money for weak results.

“The problem starts at the top,” Ubben said. “Hawaiian Electric Industries executives and its board leadership have been richly rewarded for lackluster performance.”

Other Activist News

Meanwhile, in other activist news, Domino’s Pizza Group is making changes at the board of directors level. Usman Nabi, a partner at Browning West, has joined as a non-executive director.

Related: Emerson Electric Concedes to Activist Fund, Appoints Mark Blinn to Board

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