Activist Legion Partners Loses Bid to Revamp Genesco Board

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The activist investor seeking to revamp the board of Genesco Inc. failed in its efforts as all nine directors from the company’s slate were elected.

Based on a preliminary count at the annual general meeting, investors voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of Genesco’s candidates, the company said Tuesday in a statement. The tally confirmed an earlier report by Bloomberg.

The results “reflect the support we have received from shareholders in response to the decisive actions Genesco has taken to grow and strengthen our business and bring on leaders who can effectively oversee and execute on our strategy,” Matthew Diamond, the company’s lead independent director, said in the statement.

Legion Partners Asset Management had nominated four directors to the board of Genesco, the owner of of footwear retailers such as Journeys and Johnston & Murphy. The activist investor had argued the company was in need of operational improvements and a more independent board after years of underperformance.

Preliminary tallies showed Legion’s nominees received support from between 15% and 24% of the company’s the outstanding shares, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public. A representative for Legion wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Legion’s efforts were dealt a blow earlier this month when Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. urged investors to vote for management’s slate of nominees, arguing that the investor’s nominees did not appear to be “demonstrably superior” to the company’s directors. Another shareholder advisory firm, Glass Lewis & Co., said shareholders should support two of Legion’s directors because Genesco’s returns have been “profoundly substandard.”

Genesco shares climbed 3.8% at 10:38 a.m. in New York.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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