Ferro adds IR responsibilities to treasurer role as investors seek to bring in board members

Investor committee nominates three directors in bid to turn around company’s fortunes

Ferro is adding IR duties to John Bingle’s existing role as treasurer as investors voice concern over ‘unsatisfactory performance’.

Ferro this week received notice that due to ‘historic and current under-performance’, a group of investors plans to nominate three people for election to the company’s nine-member board.

An open letter from the Shareholder Committee, formed by FrontFour Capital Group and Quinpario Partners, states that ‘the operating performance of [Ferro] continues to deteriorate and the share price as of December 31, 2012 has declined by 15 percent, 49 percent and 79 percent over the past one, three and five calendar years, respectively.’

Former CEO James Kirsch resigned from the company, which manufactures materials used in electronics, pharmaceuticals and specialty plastics, in November 2012. An interim CEO was appointed and Ferro is looking for a permanent replacement, but the Shareholder Committee wants its board nominations – David Lorber, Jeffry Quinn and Nadim Qureshi – to help make that selection. It explains that with 2013 set to be ‘a pivotal year’ for the company, it is concerned that current leadership ‘is ill-equipped to make the appropriate decisions to restore shareholder value.’

‘With the right leadership and oversight, we believe Ferro can transform and emerge as a formidable specialty chemical company,’ concludes the investor group. ‘Therefore, shareholder-nominated directors should have a direct involvement in the hiring of an industry-leading chief executive officer who will develop and implement a strategic plan to drive shareholder value.’

Bingle joined the Ohio-headquartered company in 2004, rising to treasurer four years later. Prior to Ferro, the mechanical engineering graduate held finance, treasury and investor relations positions with STERIS Corporation, Invacare Corporation and BFGoodrich.

His predecessor, David Longfellow, who served as Ferro’s director of investor relations since 2006, retired at the end of January.

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