Activist investor to join Bankwell's board

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Bankwell Financial Group in New Canaan, Conn., has agreed to put a well-known activist investor on its board.

Lawrence Seidman will join the board of the $1.9 billion-asset company at its 2020 annual meeting, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Seidman will act as a non-voting observer on Bankwell’s board until the meeting takes place.

Seidman will remain on the board as long as he holds at least 5% of Bankwell’s shares. The investor and affiliated entities control 8.9% of Bankwell’s stock.

A lawyer who once worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Seidman has been a feared name among banks and thrifts for more than 25 years.

Seidman spent years sparring with Yardville National Bancorp's board and management, filing several lawsuits as part of a campaign to force the Hamilton, N.J., company to oust its CEO or find a buyer. He got his wish in 2007, when Yardville agreed to be sold to PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh.

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