May 13, 2019 / 9:45 PM / 2 months ago

Sturm Ruger directors get backing, may start shareholder talks

BOSTON, May 13 (Reuters) - All director nominees at gunmaker Sturm Ruger & Co received a majority of support from investors, including three criticized by a top proxy adviser, a securities filing showed on Monday.

Institutional Shareholder Services had recommended investors withhold support from three of nine director nominees at the company's annual meeting held May 8, including then-chair Michael Jacobi. ISS cited the company's "limited response" to a shareholder resolution last year calling for a safety report and its unusual policy of not engaging with investors.

Sturm Ruger and other gunmakers have been under pressure from social activist investors after a series of mass shootings across the United States, including at schools, businesses and houses of worship.

Jacobi and the other two directors in question each received support from 72% of votes cast, according to Monday's filing, the first breakdown of voting results the company has provided. The other six directors each received at least 97% support, a typical level in U.S. corporation elections.

Ruger will "likely modify" its no-talks policy, Chief Executive Christopher Killoy said at the meeting, according to a transcript of the event the company included as part of Monday's filing. The company also named director Ronald Whitaker as board chairman, replacing Jacobi.

Sturm Ruger General Counsel Kevin Reid said via e-mail last week that Whitaker's appointment reflected "normal Board rotation" and that Jacobi will continue as a director.

Reporting by Ross Kerber Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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