March 6 Activist investor Casablanca Capital LP
on Thursday nominated six directors for election to the board of
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc, setting in motion a proxy
battle for the iron ore producer that it wants split into two
The New York-based hedge fund said the director slate, named
ahead of Cliffs's annual meeting in May, includes Casablanca
Chief Executive Officer Douglas Taylor as well as Lourenco
Goncalves, former CEO of Metals USA.
Casablanca, which owns about 5.2 percent of Cliffs, first
targeted the Cleveland-based company in January. It wants
Cliffs, which was the second-worst performing stock in the S&P
500 Index last year, to spin off its "riskier" international
operations from its cash-generating U.S. assets.
Last month, the fund named Goncalves as its preferred
candidate for Cliffs's CEO and said it would nominate a majority
slate to the company's 11-member board.
Other directors on the slate are: Rip Fisher, a former head
of mining and Canadian corporate finance and investment banking
at Goldman Sachs; Patrice Merrin, a director of Stillwater
Mining; Joseph Rutkowski, former vice president of business
development at Nucor Corp, and Gabriel Stoliar, managing partner
of Studio Investimentos, an asset management firm.
Casablanca said in a statement on Thursday that its slate
was "far better equipped than the incumbent board members to
implement a new strategic direction for Cliffs...".
A Cliffs spokeswoman said the company would issue a
The annual meeting is scheduled for May 13.
Cliffs has in recent weeks taken a number of steps to
transform the company, including naming a CEO, indefinitely
suspending a planned expansion at its Bloom Lake mine in Canada,
and idling Wabush, another Canadian mine.