Activist fund Barington withdraws nominees for Chico's board

(Reuters) - Activist hedge fund Barington Capital Group L.P. said on Friday it was withdrawing its nominees to the board of women's apparel retailer Chico's FAS Inc CHS.N, days after two major proxy advisers backed the company's nominees.

Barington, which owns 1.5 percent of Chico's shares, said it expects the company to deliver on its promises to stockholders, adding it would monitor Chico's performance. (

Barington’s decision brings to end a vocal fight in which the hedge fund said it was responsible for the retailer’s progress, a claim which Chico’s denied saying improvements had begun well before it started “substantively engaging” with Barington.

The hedge fund had nominated its founder, James Mitarotonda, and Janet Grove, a former Macy's Inc M.N executive, for Chico's board, urging the company to improve its operating performance and cut costs.

Chico's had nominated Bonnie Brooks, vice chairman of Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay Co HBC.TO and Bill Simon, a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT.N executive to its board and had won the backing of proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis.

Barington’s decision to withdraw its nominees is “consistent with the strong support” it has received from shareholders, Chico’s said.

Barington said it remained committed to its investment in Chico’s and wanted to have an open dialogue with Chief Executive Shelley Broader.

However, Barington asked Chico’s shareholders to vote against executive compensation at the annual meeting of the company scheduled for July 21.

Reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Shounak Dasgupta