This article was first published on Insightia’s Activism module on June 14, 2022. For more information about the product, click here.
U.S. delivery company FedEx has announced two new directors as part of a cooperation agreement with activist investor D.E. Shaw, and raised its dividend by over 50%. The courier’s shares were up more than 13% Tuesday morning in New York.
FedEx and D.E. Shaw have agreed on the addition of former investment banker Amy Lane and railroad veteran Jim Vena to its board, according to a Tuesday press release. A third director selected with input from both the company and the activist is expected to be named at a later date.
In 2019, Insightia’s Vulnerability module reckoned an activist could step in and take aim at the courier’s then “low valuation, poor performance, and stunted growth” to agitate for board changes. The report, which can be read here by subscribers, argued FedEx was held back by founder Frederick Smith, who led the company for decades until earlier this month when he was replaced as CEO by one of his lieutenants, Raj Subramaniam.
FedEx also said it was boosting its quarterly dividend by 53% to $1.15 per share and pledged to cut capital spending and rework its executive compensation plan so that cash bonuses are tied to total shareholder return.
“We believe that today’s board enhancements and changes to the executive compensation program position the company well to deliver on its plan to drive significant value for all stockholders,” said D. E. Shaw Managing Director Michael O’Mary in Tuesday comments.
The courier’s recently installed CEO Subramaniam praised D. E. Shaw’s involvement and said the changes were the result of an “constructive dialogue” with the activist.
Shares in FedEx are down 23% year-to-date, roughly the same as the S&P 500 index.
FedEx new board member Vena was last year backed by British activist investor TCI Fund Management in a race for the CEO position of Canadian National Railway. Vena pulled back in December and TCI a month later struck a deal with the railroad operator that saw a new CEO installed at the company.