NOW THEY’RE CRACKING DOWN ON WHAT TO FEED SHAREHOLDERS

Some activist investors are merely aggressive, while others are relentless. Take Spencer L. Schneider, general counsel of Stilwell Capital and

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Some activist investors are merely aggressive, while others are relentless. Take Spencer L. Schneider, general counsel of Stilwell Capital and member of the board of First Financial Northwest, a community bank based in Renton, Wash. which struggled mightily during the recession and in which Stilwell subsequently acquired a 7.9% stake. Let’s just say Schneider wanted to see some changes:

At a Feb. 15 meeting, Mr. Schneider made three demands on the First Financial board. He proposed to “terminate the director emeritus program,” which Mr. Schneider claimed paid directors as much as $150,000 a year even after their death for doing “nothing.” He also proposed to “remove the directors’ photographs from the executive suite walls” since the photos rewarded poor past performance and the bank was “not a country club or an English manor.”

Finally, as a symbol of First Financial’s newfound austerity, Mr. Schneider wanted to “serve only hard candy at the upcoming annual meeting.” He also protested the board’s policy of free iPads for directors. [Emph. added]

I can see getting rid of the emeritus directors; that does sound like a waste of money. Taking the directors’ pictures down makes some sense, too. But just hard candy at the annual meeting! Even Bill Ackman won’t go there. . . .