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Aerojet Rocketdyne shareholders elect CEO slate to board

Aerojet Rocketdyne tests a rocket engine's thrust chamber assembly. (Aerojet Rocketdyne)

A slate of candidates led by Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO Eileen Drake has won the publicly traded company's contentious election for board of directors, defeating a group led by executive chairman and major shareholder Warren Lichtenstein, the Drake team announced on 30 June.

The eight-member Drake slate received more than 75% of the votes cast, with Drake receiving over 83%, more than any other candidate, the CEO's group wrote in a press release. Drake's slate consists of four incumbent directors, including Drake, and four new directors.

“We look forward to putting this proxy fight behind us so we can continue to focus on creating value for our shareholders,” Drake said.

A spokesperson for the Lichtenstein slate declined to comment.

Drake and Lichtenstein have been publicly feuding for months over the direction of the US propulsion manufacturer, including Lockheed Martin's decision in February to end its bid to acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne amid opposition from anti-trust regulators. Lichtenstein argued that Aerojet Rocketdyne's management failed to prepare for the possibility that the Lockheed Martin takeover might not materialise. Drake pointed to Aerojet Rocketdyne's near-record backlog as evidence that the company's future remains bright.

The Drake slate received a boost before the shareholder vote when it was endorsed by proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). The advisory firms' recommendations carry significant weight with many institutional investors.

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