Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Maple Leaf Foods Nominates Former Cabinet Minister David Emerson to Board: Maple Leaf Nominates David Emerson to Board

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Maple Leaf Foods Nominates Former Cabinet Minister David Emerson to Board: Maple Leaf Nominates David Emerson to Board

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX:MFI) plans to appoint former federal cabinet minister David Emerson as chairman of its board of directors as part of a long-awaited boardroom shakeup.

The move by the food processing giant shifts Emerson into a role that was previously held by veteran board member Purdy Crawford, who plans to retire.

Emerson's nomination will be voted on at its annual general meeting on May 2. If the vote is successful, Maple Leaf will appoint him chairman to replace Crawford after the meeting.

The changes come nearly two years after activist shareholder West Face Capital began pushing for a board shakeup amid questions of whether its members were independent enough from McCain family, which owns a controlling stake.

Boardroom tensions at the company first came to light in fall of 2010 when one of its largest shareholders, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, sold its entire stake after expressing unhappiness over the company's ambitious $1.3-billion restructuring plan.

Crawford, 80, took over as temporary chairman from Wallace McCain, who died in May at age 81 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

During the battle over boardroom independence with West Face, the prominent Bay Street lawyer had been singled out with suggestions he is too close to the McCain family to be considered an independent.

His departure next month had been previously announced and a committee had been on a search for an appropriate replacement.

Crawford said Emerson will bring extensive experience in both the public and private sectors as well as new perspectives to the board.

"I am confident that these changes will deliver the right balance of renewal and continuity and further strengthen corporate governance at a time of significant strategic transformation for Maple Leaf Foods."

The company said both McCain Capital Corp. …

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