They plan to unveil their rival board candidates, including a Main Line woman, on Monday.
The insurgents seek to persuade shareholders to vote for them to replace chairman
The slate includes ousted former Sekisui chairman
Frustrated by what he told me is
The insurgent board candidates include Wada; two foreign-based Sekisui executives, who allies say are risking their jobs; sitting directors
Other insurgents include a Japanese economics professor, a director of
An internal investigation, made before Wada's ouster and posted by the insurgents in English translation on their website, SaveSekisuiHouse.com, found that managers reporting to Abe, then the CEO, accepted a cashier's check — instead of the usual monitored electronic bank payments — in payment for a
The investigation report had called on the company to dismiss Abe. But instead, Wada and his supporters say, Abe rallied inside directors to outvote independent directors and force Wada to “retire.”
In formal statements to the Japanese media and investors, Abe has denied wrongdoing. Sekisui did not respond to requests for comment.
Wada and Uchimoto say Sekisui's inability to clean house, and Japanese regulators' failure to intervene, fueled their call for investors to vote against Abe in last year's board election. With no opposition candidate at that time, Abe was reelected, but with just 69% of the vote, vs. more than 95% for outside directors.
This time, they hope to oust Abe and his supporters.
On his visit to
He recounted his story over breakfast at the league. “It's very shameful, what happened, and there were a lot of irregularities, in terms of how the land was purchased and the payment made,” he said through a translator. “This could happen because the CEO of the company,
Wada said the independent investigation he commissioned found that the true owner of the property sent Abe's administration “four warning letters,” which they “ignored” before giving the fraudsters the sale money. Company leaders even accelerated payments to the fraudsters, as if to give them “additional time to escape,” he added, emphasizing with head nods and movements of his right fist and his open left hand. Even with the money lost, “they did not even file a lawsuit.”
“It is very rare” for a Japanese company to vote out a sitting director, says Ken Hokugo, an institutional investment manager and senior director of the 2,000-member
Meeting with Wada supporters at
In a report distributed to fund managers, Hokugo wrote that half of Japanese companies' book (asset) values are higher than their stock-market prices — meaning they would be worth more sold off in pieces, a sign they aren't being run for their owners' benefit.
Uchimoto says big U.S. investors such as BlackRock and Vanguard made up the bulk of the “no” votes in last year's uncontested election. Elson gives that the
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