An Ousted Metals CEO Is Trying to Fire the Board That Fired Him


(Bloomberg) -- The battle for control of a Russian-backed aluminum project in Kentucky has landed in court, with the ousted CEO filing a lawsuit to fire the board members who fired him.

About two weeks ago, Braidy Industries said it removed and replaced Craig Bouchard with a new chief executive officer -- a move Bouchard immediately disputed. On Tuesday, Bouchard said he filed a suit in Delaware against the aluminum company’s directors, arguing that as the largest shareholder he is exercising his rights to remove board members because “they are no longer showing proper judgment.”

In an emailed response, Braidy called Bouchard’s move an “expected step in the process.” The company said the board had not been “pleased with the status of financing for the mill.”

“Mr. Bouchard, as CEO, must be held accountable and the board of directors is willing to do what it takes to ensure that occurs,” a company spokesperson said. “We intend to get this project built as promptly as possible.”

Closely held Braidy has been seeking to build a billion-dollar-plus rolling mill in its home state that would be the first U.S. greenfield aluminum plant in more than three decades. Last year, Braidy secured a “potential” $200 million commitment from aluminum maker United Co. Rusal, months after that Russian company was freed from U.S. sanctions. In September, Bouchard said the project was moving ahead and was expected to open in 2021.

On Tuesday, a statement from Bouchard said he felt a personal responsibility to push ahead with his vision of bringing jobs to the state and protecting investors.

“The board members have placed the community of Ashland and North East Kentucky, suffering from job loss and the ensuing opioid crisis, at risk,” according to the statement. “This is vital to investor confidence.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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