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Activists Are Shaking Things Up At Great Lakes Dredge & Dock

Activists Are Shaking Things Up At Great Lakes Dredge & Dock
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A new CEO took the helm of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (NASDAQ: GLDD) on Wednesday, Mark Marinko. The exec is also the company's current CFO.

News was first seen on the Benzinga Pro real-time newswire around 5:54 p.m. ET.

The executive change was later confirmed by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock via a press release, which showed Jonathan Berger's retirement date was accelerated to Tuesday, January 3, 2017, putting Marinko as CEO.

In addition, the company announced Robert Uhler was named Chair to the Board, replacing Michael Walsh.

A Timeline Of Recent Management Changes

Shareholders anticipated Berger leaving the company as early as October 2015, when Great Lakes Dredge & Dock disclosed an effective retirement date for the CEO at "the earlier of April 13, 2017 or a date chosen by the Board."

On December 27, 2016, the company announced maritime industries vet and former Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE: CBI) COO, Lasse Petterson, would take over Berger's role as CEO.

"Mr. Petterson will join the Board immediately and assume the role of Chief Executive Officer once his application for U.S. citizenship, as required by the Jones Act, is finalized, which we expect to occur in Q1 2017. During this time, Lasse and current CEO Jonathan Berger will be working closely to ensure a seamless transition," a release read.

A Timeline Of Recent Activist Involvement

The management changes come at an important time for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, as two activist shareholder groups recently contacted the company's Board.

A November 21, 2016, filing with the SEC from the Privet Fund and Ryan Levenson, managing member of the firm, showed a 5.2 percent stake in Great Lakes Dredge & Dock. By December 28, Levenson was named to the Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Board and the company's Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Great Lakes also said it "agreed to include Mr. Levenson on the Company's slate of nominees for the election of directors at the 2017 Annual Meeting."

On December 20, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock holders Clinton Group and Kenny International sent an open letter to other company shareholders. The letter highlighted the shareholder group's "...good faith proposal to the Company's Board of Directors to address the years of shareholder value destruction evident in the Company's financial results."

Price Action Heading Into 2017

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock shares were rangebound between $3 and $5 for much of 2016. After the company reported better-than-expected earnings at the beginning of November, the stock rebounded from near-52 week lows. By the time news of the Privet Fund's stake hit later that month, shares of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock had rallied nearly 50 percent.

Since the end of November and amid the recent management changes and activist involvement, shares have tacked on another 4 percent.

Shares of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock were unchanged in after-hours action Wednesday evening.


Posted-In: Jonathan Berger Lasse PettersonNews Hedge Funds Management Top Stories Trading Ideas General Best of Benzinga


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