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Infighting at Aerojet Rocketdyne continues

A month after Aerojet Rocketdyne's executive chairman Warren Lichtenstein began trying to seat his own slate of directors on the board of the US propulsion manufacturer, four other board members, including CEO Eileen Drake, have countered with a proposed slate of their own.

In a 1 March filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Drake, former Lockheed Martin executive Thomas Corcoran, and retired US Air Force (USAF) Generals Kevin Chilton and Lance Lord have proposed re-electing themselves to the board, as well as naming four new directors, including former USAF secretary Deborah Lee James. The filers argue that Aerojet Rocketdyne has performed well financially during Drake's tenure, that their new nominees are more experienced than those put forward by Lichtenstein, and that Lichtenstein's attempt to install his own slate is disruptive.

On 1 February, Lichtenstein, through his investment firm Steel Partners Holdings, which owns about 5% of Aerojet Rocketdyne's stock, proposed to elect three new directors and re-elect himself and fellow incumbent directors James Henderson, Audrey McNiff, and Martin Turchin. Steel has argued that Aerojet Rocketdyne's management failed to prepare for the possibility that Lockheed Martin's proposed acquisition of the company might not materialise.

Lockheed Martin ultimately ended its USD4.4 billion bid for Aerojet Rocketdyne in mid-February citing opposition from anti-trust regulators.

The duelling slates will be considered at Aerojet Rocketdyne's 2022 annual stockholders' meeting. A date for the meeting has not been announced.

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