MSCI Reaches Deal With ValueAct; Appoints Three Directors 

MSCI Reaches Deal With ValueAct; Appoints Three Directors 

ValueAct Capital agreed to vote in favor of all the nominees of MSCI during the2015 annual meeting of shareholders

MSCI announced the appointment of three new independent directors as part of its agreement with ValueAct Capital, the activist hedge fund headed by Jeffrey Ubben.

MSCI newly appointed independent directors

Today, MSCI appointed Wayne Edmunds, D. Robert Hale, and Wendy Lane as independent directors starting March 10, 2015.

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Hale is a partner of ValueAct Capital. Lane is the chairman of Lane Holdings, an investment firm while Edmunds was the CEO of Invensys plc.

Commenting on his appointment, Hale said the company is “an industry leader with products that are well aligned with the changing demands of global investors.”

“I am excited to work with Wayne, Wendy and the rest of the Board and management to help the company position itself for long-term success and shareholder value creation.”

According to the company, the appointments increased the composition of its board to twelve directors, eleven of them are independent. MSCI will include the three newly appointed independent directors to its list of nominees for elections during its 2015 annual meeting of shareholders.

ValueAct Capital agreed to vote in favor of all the nominees of MSCI during the annual meeting. The activist hedge fund owns 9.3 million shares or 8.3% of the company.

MSCI previously rejected ValueAct’s request for a board seat

Last year, MSCI rejected the request of ValueAct Capital to join the board of directors of the company.

Early this month, the ValueAct sent another letter to MSCI and expressed its disappointment with the company’s decision, not to pursue its request for a board seat.

ValueAct expressed concern regarding the board’s independence from management and alignment with shareholders. The activist hedge fund also questioned the “One MSCI” strategy.

Fresh perspectives, excellent additions to MSCI board

In a statement, MSCI Chairman and CEO Henry Fernandez believed that the newly appointed independent directors will bring additional experience and fresh perspectives to the company. According to him, the management expects them to help the company continue to deliver superior returns to shareholders going forward.

On the other hand, MSCI lead independent director, Rodolphe Vallee commented that three new independent directors are excellent additions given their familiarity with operational issues and the financial services industry. “They will help guide MSCI as it pursues profitable growth opportunities and enhances shareholder value,” said Vallee.

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