Barington Chief Wins Board Seat After Proxy Fight

Apr 1 2011 | 12:26pm ET

After a bitter proxy battle, hedge fund Barington Capital Group claimed a partial victory over industrials company Ameron International Corp.

Barington said that its chief, James Mitarotonda, was elected to the board on Wednesday at its annual meeting in Pasadena, Calif. But Barington target James Marlen, Ameron's chairman and CEO, was re-elected.

Barington has been withering in its criticism of Marlen, accusing him of improperly disclosing giving jobs to his sons, while pushing Ameron to reduce expenses and cut executive pay, among other stock-price-friendly measures.

Mitarotonda's election came at the expense of David Davenport, chairman of the company’s compensation committee.

Mitarotonda's election was backed by two major proxy services.

Despite the nastiness of the campaign—including questions about Mitarotonda's own ethics—Barington promises its top man will play nice.

"Mitarotonda is an experienced director who has extensive experience helping undervalued companies improve shareholder value," Barington said prior to the vote. "If elected to the Ameron board, he is committed to working constructively with his fellow directors to help improve the company's operations, profitability and corporate governance."

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