- Parkland Corporation has named a new member to its board of directors just one day after one of its largest shareholders submitted a letter requesting the c-store retailer refresh its board, according to a Tuesday announcement.
- The company appointed Michael Jennings, former CEO of oil and gas company HF Sinclair, to the board, effective Feb. 10. Parkland plans to utilize his “industry knowledge and strategic acumen” to advance its board, Chairman Steven Richardson said in the announcement.
- This is part of Parkland’s “ongoing and strategic board renewal process,” the company said in its announcement. It comes about three weeks after its shareholder-appointed board members, Michael Christiansen and Marc Halley, abruptly left the company after just seven months.
The letter sent on Monday by Engine Capital LP — which owns approximately 2.5% of Parkland — notes that investors are “very concerned” about Christiansen’s and Halley’s recent departures.
A footnote in the letter states that a research note from TD Cowen said there were also “disagreements on changes to board composition and frustrations over the speed at which they were occurring.” The letter suggested those disagreements may have come from Simpson Oil, the company that Christiansen and Halley came from.
Engine Capital’s letter also accuses Parkland’s board of trying to use legal strategies to “shield itself from shareholder accountability.” Additionally, the letter states Engine Capital believes Parkland’s board is “out of touch with reality.”
“Engine’s engagement with the board has been disappointing,” the letter stated. “The Board seems to have little interest in listening to the viewpoints of large shareholders, despite its poor track record of long-term value creation.”
This continues a nearly year-long quarrel between Parkland and Engine Capital. The activist hedge fund first pressured Parkland to refresh its board of directors last March, citing long-term underperformance from the c-store retailer as its reason for doing so. Parkland then named Richardson as its chairman in July.
In tapping Jennings for its board, Parkland is bringing on an executive with over three decades of integrated energy experience.
"Michael brings extensive executive and public board experience… Our Board and Parkland's shareholders will benefit greatly from his expertise as we advance our strategy to deliver long-term value to all shareholders,” Richardson said in Tuesday’s announcement.
With 1,860 stores in its Canadian network, Calgary, Alberta-based Parkland is the largest independent fuel retailer and second-largest c-store operator in Canada. In the U.S., Parkland operates 650 retail sites across Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Florida.