Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Rice Brothers Win Battle for Control of EQT

Following a long and contentious fight for control of EQT, the Rice brothers have come out on top.

From an EQT press release:
EQT Corporation (NYSE:EQT) and the Rice Team jointly announced that, based on preliminary voting results at the EQT Annual Meeting today, shareholders have elected all seven Rice Team-nominated directors as well as the five nominees supported by both EQT and the Rice Team. All 12 elected directors received more than 80% of the votes cast at the Annual Meeting. 
After voting results are certified by the independent inspector of elections, expected later today, EQT’s reconstituted Board will be comprised of Lydia Beebe, Dr. Philip Behrman, Lee Canaan, Janet Carrig, Dr. Kathryn Jackson, John McCartney, James McManus II, Anita Powers, Daniel Rice IV, Toby Rice, Stephen Thorington, and Hallie Vanderhider. 
Following certification, the newly constituted Board will meet later today and is expected to name Toby Z. Rice as President and CEO, succeeding Robert McNally. 
Toby Rice said, “We are deeply gratified by the shareholder support for the Rice Team and our plan for EQT. The Company has a world class asset base which provides abundant opportunities for value-creation. Now is the time to put this proxy contest behind us and come together as one team to transform EQT into a technology-enabled, sustainable energy producer. There is a lot of work to be done, and we look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working closely with EQT’s talented employees to execute our plan. We are committed to a smooth transition and to realizing EQT’s full potential to create significant value for shareholders.” 
Robert McNally said, “I’d like to thank employees across the organization for their outstanding work and dedication to EQT as well as our directors for their counsel and dedication. EQT is a unique company with terrific assets, and I wish EQT and the Rice Team great success in the future.” 
The Board of EQT thanks Rob McNally for his service.
Click here to read the whole release.

The Pittsburgh Business Times reported on some of the changes coming for the company:
New EQT CEO Toby Z. Rice said the clock has started running on his team’s 100-day plan to begin the turnaround at the Pittsburgh-based natural gas driller, but disputed that it means a wholesale change of top executives. 
Rice spoke in the back of the second-floor conference room shortly after the annual meeting where he and 11 others supported by the Rice team during the nine-month proxy battle had been elected overwhelmingly by shareholders. The new board, with Toby Rice and his brother Daniel J. Rice IV, was to meet soon after the voting results were certified. But it was clear from the tone that Rice was on his way to becoming the CEO of EQT (NYSE: EQT), the largest independent natural gas driller in the country. 
Yet he gave no hint of a large-scale departure of EQT executives, which in the past two years has seen four CEOs as well as three separate heads of production and the departure of other executives with the November 2018 split into EQT and Equitrans Midstream Corp. (NYSE: ETRN), which is now a separate publicly traded company. He mentioned only replacing of the CEO and the general counsel, a position that itself was replaced in October 2017 in a move that also lead to the departure of the EVP of production. 
“That’s one misconception of this whole campaign, that we’re going to replace 15 executives,” Rice said.
Read that whole article by clicking here. 

Meanwhile, another article from the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that McNally will receive $3.4 million to go away, while Toby Rice will take a salary of $1.00 in his first year as the new CEO.  Click here to read that article (subscription required).

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