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Investors Compel Duckwall-ALCO Management Change

Rural retailer Duckwall-ALCO has defused a potential proxy battle by altering the makeup of its board of directors and bidding farewell to its chairman, Warren Gfeller.

Strongarmed by Cayman Islands-based investors Strongbow Capital and Raymond French, which own a combined 14.3% of Duckwall-ALCO voting shares, the 261-store company accepted the immediate resignations of Gfeller and fellow director Robert Ring on Friday, March 7.

The new chairman of the board, Royce Winsten, was elected to the board last October. He is founder and managing director of Shore Capital Management of Sea Girt, N.J.

Two new directors, put forward by the insurgent investors, joined the board last Friday: French and James Hyde.

French and Strongbow had announced their intentions in mid-February; three days later the retailer said its president and ceo Bruce Dale was resigning immediately.

In return for these actions by Duckwall-ALCO management, the investors said they "do not intend to pursue a proxy contest" at the upcoming annual meeting of shareholders. The full, seven-person board will stand for election at the annual meeting.

Duckwall-ALCO plans to release fourth quarter and full year results for the period ended Feb. 3 on April 17. It recently projected full-year EBITDA of $13 million on sales of $499 million, both below recently updated guidance.

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