The tides of change seem to be relentless at Atlanta-based PulteGroup, Inc PHM, one of the largest home builders in the U.S. The company has found itself embroiled in internal disputes and public scrutiny as allegations of poor governance and management issues have come to light.
Power Struggle: The company’s CEO, Ryan Marshall, is accused of abusing shareholder funds and participating in a harassment campaign against Bill Pulte and the Pulte family. The grandson of the company’s founder and a former director, Bill Pulte has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with Marshall’s leadership, presenting his allegations in a statement.
“We believe current CEO Ryan Marshall is abusing shareholder funds in Marshall’s ongoing harassment campaign against Bill Pulte and the Pulte Family first executed by his lieutenant, Brandon Jones, who used fake identities to attack the Pulte Family and who was terminated by the board after investigators caught his actions,” Bill Pulte’s statement read.
Share Sales: Adding fuel to the fire, Marshall’s stock sales raised some eyebrows. The CEO reportedly sold 100,000 shares worth over $6.4 million just two months ago, with a total 171,037 shares sold or converted since the beginning of the year.
To that end, the Pulte family issued a notice on June 9 saying it took a significant position in the company, purchasing 171,037 shares — the same amount Marshall sold or converted.
“To show our commitment to, and support of, all shareholders that continue to believe in the future of PulteGroup, we decided to invest $11.9 million dollars and buy the same amount of shares that CEO Ryan Marshall has been selling,” Pulte said in the statement.
The Pulte family now owns roughly 0.07% of the company.
Legal Troubles: In addition to the internal struggles, PulteGroup is facing legal issues. The company is being sued by three former employees who have accused the company of fostering a hostile work environment and engaging in racial discrimination.
The allegations include a white executive bringing a noose to a meeting and telling employees to “not to hang themselves,” according to a CNN report.
Pulte expressed a desire for a return to the company’s “widely respected greatness.” The family has called for an end to what they perceive as harassment, bullying, corruption and retaliation within the company.