Shareholders of Myers Industries Inc. (NYSE: MYE) of Akron have shaken up the company's board, electing all three people nominated by GAMCO in a proxy contest.
The election of the three is a victory for GAMCO Asset Management Inc., which nominated the three earlier this year and has criticized Myers' board and top executives.
GAMCO, which is the Akron company's largest shareholder, has said it had little confidence that Myers was taking the necessary steps to enhance shareholder value.
In February, GAMCO, run by activist shareholder Mario Gabelli, disclosed it owns about 6.6 million shares of Myers, or nearly 21 percent of outstanding shares,
Myers, which makes plastic and rubber products and distributes specialized tools, on Tuesday released preliminary results of its Friday annual meeting.
The election of the three GAMCO nominees means three Myers' board members did not win re-election. They include Myers' current chairman Richard P. Johnston. He has been a Myers' director for more than 20 years.
GAMCO, with offices in Rye, N.Y., has run a string of proxy contests in an effort to get its nominees on Myers' board.
GAMCO lobbied for its latest nominees earlier this month, releasing a scathing slide presentation, available online. The presentation says that inaction and poor oversight by Myers' board has hurt shareholder value.
"Time and again, shareholders have witnessed Myers' practice of buying high and selling low," the presentation says.
GAMCO did manage in 2013 to secure an agreement in which Myers agreed to back the election of GAMCO nominee Daniel R. Lee.
The truce didn't last long. Lee resigned from the board this year. That was after the size of the Myers' board was reduced from ten to nine, and directors didn't re-nominate Lee.
In its March 31 proxy statement, Myers responded to the latest proxy contest, saying that GAMCO had never "adequately articulated its reasons for its pursuit of nominees."
In votes submitted by Friday's annual meeting, shareholders re-elected six of the nine board members backed by the Myers board and the three nominees backed by GAMCO. The three are: Philip Blazek, F. Jack Liebau, Jr. and Bruce Lisman.
Myers said Tuesday that it plans to report the final results of voting to shareholders in a Form 8-K filing with the Securtities and Exchange Commission in the next few days.