The cease-fire between Akron’s Myers Industries Inc. and its largest shareholder officially began Friday.
For five years in a row, GAMCO Asset Management Inc. has waged a proxy contest to get a seat on Myers’ board of directors.
On Friday morning, shareholders of Myers elected GAMCO’s director nominee, Daniel R. Lee, the managing partner of casino developer Creative Casinos LLC.
He also serves as a director of GAMCO subsidiary Gabelli Securities.
The move came after GAMCO and Myers, maker of plastic and rubber products, reached an agreement this month to allow GAMCO’s nominee to run on the same slate as Myers’ board candidates.
The agreement — revealed April 12 — ended the long-running proxy contest waged by Rye, N.Y.-based GAMCO, founded and run by activist investor Mario Gabelli.
Earlier this month, Myers said it agreed to increase from nine to 10 the number of seats on its board to accommodate the addition of Lee, pending shareholder approval.
Directors are elected to one-year terms.
At Myers’ annual meeting Friday in Akron, shareholders elected Lee, who was at the meeting, and all nine current board members.
Myers CEO John Orr said in a brief interview after the annual meeting, “We’re happy to have a representative for our largest shareholder join our board.” He declined further comment.
GAMCO, in waging its proxy contests, had criticized Myers’ board and top executives, saying it had little confidence the company was taking steps to enhance shareholder value.
This week, Myers Industries reported a decline in profit for the first quarter, as the company had anticipated.
Myers said it had net income of $7.9 million, or 23 cents per share, on sales of $215 million for the quarter ended March 31.
A year ago, Myers had net income of $10 million, or 29 cents per share, on sales of $198.8 million.
The company said the sales increase was primarily attributable to last year’s acquisitions of two companies, Novel and Jamco.
Orr noted at Friday’s meeting that the company introduced more than 40 new products last year.
New products, services and markets introduced in the past three years accounted for about 6 percent of 2012 sales.
He also touted the company’s being named one of America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in an annual survey commissioned by Forbes magazine.
It is the second year in a row the company has made the Forbes list.
Orr said in prepared remarks released this week that the company had expected the first quarter of this year to be “challenging.” He cited investments in information technology and other projects.
He told analysts in a conference call Wednesday that operating results “should continue to improve year over year” as Myers focuses on improved sales, cost reductions and introduction of new products.
Myers distributes specialized tire and motor vehicle tools, in addition to making plastic and rubber products. The company is a leading North American producer of plastic horticultural pots, trays and planters for professional growers.
Myers also makes products for the food processing and agricultural industries, among other markets.
Global employment totals more than 3,000. Locally, Myers owns the 100-plus employee Akro-Mils plant in Wadsworth, where workers make plastic and steel storage products for industrial, commercial and consumer use.
The company’s corporate headquarters are on South Main Street in Akron.
Myers posted a profit of $29.9 million on $791.2 million in revenue last year.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.