Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) won a partial victory in its proxy fight with Carl Icahn as proxy firm ISS recommended only one of the activist’s three board nominees and supported CEO Francis deSouza.
The influential proxy firm recommended that holders withhold votes for Illumina Chairman John Thompson, according to a statement on Friday. ISS recommended holders vote for Icahn nominee Andrew Teno.
“In consideration of the lack of evidence of malfeasance by the CEO, and the fact that the dissident does not have a CEO candidate in hand…removal of CEO deSouza from the board seems excessively disruptive at this stage,” ISS said in the report.
The ISS recommendation comes after rival proxy firm Glass Lewis on Wednesday said that Illumina (ILMN) shareholders should vote to replace the Illumina CEO and chairman and vote for two of Icahn’s three nominees. The shareholder vote is scheduled for May 25.
“ISS’s recommendation that shareholders reject two of Icahn’s associates is recognition that Illumina has the right skill sets and experiences on its board to advance the company’s strategic goals for value creation,” Illumina (ILMN) said in its statement on Friday.
Icahn has been waging a proxy war with Illumina (ILMN) as the billionaire activist battles with the gene-sequencing company over its planned purchase of cancer test maker GRAIL, which he argued earlier this month should be divested– as ordered by the FTC in April — as soon as possible.
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