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HopFed's Biggest Investor Pushes for CEO Resignation

The largest shareholder at HopFed Bancorp in Hopkinsville, Ky., is calling on the company's president and chief executive to resign.

Stilwell Group in New York, in a strongly worded letter to John Peck, pressed the executive to relinquish his posts, while taking exception to his compensation and the $871 million-asset company's "paltry" dividend.

"It seems to me you have little regard, value or respect for shareholders," Megan Parisi, Stilwell Group's director of communications, wrote in the Nov. 21 letter. "You have utterly failed to earn our trust. Maybe your next letter should be a resignation – then we'd be the ones with something to smile about."

Peck, who gave no indication that he would resign, said in an interview that the letter represents "repeated rhetoric" from the activist investor.

Stilwell Group, which owns 9.5% of HopFed's stock, has locked horns with the company in the past. In 2013, the firm sent a letter of HopFed's shareholders complaining that Peck's base salary had more than doubled since 2001 and that he had accepted directors' fees, club dues and other perks. Stilwell also objected to HopFed's plan to buy Sumner Bank & Trust; that deal ultimately fell through.

Stilwell was able to get a representative, Robert Bolton, appointed to HopFed's board. Bolton's term expired in May and Stilwell "did not nominate or support him for reelection," Peck said.

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