Shoppers walk into a Nordstrom department store on March 3, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
Nordstrom On Monday he said he had been taken advantage of Nike Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprink to join its board, as the company faces pressure from an activist investor.
Nordstrom shares rose about 4% Monday, closing at $17.00.
The company said Sprunk, who was Nike’s chief operating officer from 2013 to 2020, will join the board immediately. With the appointment, Nordstrom said its board will grow to 11 directors.
In a press release, Nordstrom Board Member Brad Tilden highlighted Sprunk’s “proven track record of driving e-commerce growth and large-scale transformations in a complex global business.”
The move comes as some investors come under scrutiny of the retailer’s performance, including Ryan Cohen, an activist investor. Cohen, founder chewy and head Jim Stopbought a significant stake in Nordstrom in February with plans to change the retailer’s board of directors, according to people familiar with the matter, who wished to remain anonymous because of the private nature of the discussions.
One of those required changes was the removal of Mark Tritton, the former bed bath behind The CEO, from the board of directors, said these people. Cohen previously bought and then sold a large stake in a home goods retailer, which is now on the verge of bankruptcy.
In a proxy filing on Monday, the company said it had “received notice from a shareholder of its intention to nominate two candidates for election to the board of directors at the annual meeting, which have subsequently been withdrawn.”
Nordstrom declined to say whether Cohen was that shareholder and whether he influenced Sprank’s appointment. Cohen’s company, RC Ventures, did not respond to a request for comment.
However, the agent also hints at a possible ongoing feud with Cohen. According to the agent, Cohen has taken steps to seek a larger stake in the company. In early March, his company formally requested that the board of directors be waived so that he could acquire up to 19.9% of Nordstrom’s common stock. His company owned 4.2% of the company’s common stock as of early March.
The Nordstrom board ruling, called the Rights Plan, was adopted last September. Its purpose is to protect the company and shareholders from a takeover, such as an entity, person, or group taking control of a company by surreptitiously accumulating a large stake.
In the proxy, the board recommends that shareholders vote to extend this clause through September 11th. 19, 2025. Shareholders will vote at the company’s annual meeting, which will be in the coming months.
As the retail backdrop gets tougher, Nordstrom has reported slowing sales and lower profits. High-end store net income decreased to $119 million, or 74 cents per share, from $200 million, or $1.23 per share, in the holiday quarter compared to the year-ago period. Its namesake company’s banner net sales decreased 2.4%, and its non-price company’s banner, Nordstrom Rack, net sales fell 8.1% in the first quarter compared to the year-ago period.
In the current fiscal year, the company said it expects revenue to decline between 4% and 6%.
– CNBC’s Gabrielle Vonrouge contributed to this report.