HomeStreet has added a new director, though it isn’t the activist investor who has been pressuring the Seattle company for a board seat.
The $6.7 billion-asset HomeStreet said it had appointed Mark Patterson, a retired managing director and equity analyst at NWQ Investment Management, to its board. Patterson also worked at U.S. Bancorp from 1989 to 1997, including a stint as vice president of investor relations.
Patterson “will bring to our board the perspective of a sophisticated institutional investor, as well as significant banking sector experience,” Scott Boggs, HomeStreet’s lead independent director, said in a press release Thursday. “We have known Mark for years and have previously had discussions with him about the company’s strategy and board composition.”
HomeStreet also announced it has begun a public search for an another qualified board candidate who meets its “stated diversity goals.”
The appointment comes days after Blue Lion Capital, a firm that owns about 5.5% of HomeStreet’s stock, announced plans to nominate multiple people to run for board seats. The disclosure followed a decision by HomeStreet to rejected a request from Charles Griege Jr., Blue Lion’s managing partner, to join its board.
Blue Lion has criticized HomeStreet’s strategy, which largely focuses on mortgages and bank acquisitions.
HomeStreet briefly discussed the conflict with Griege during its quarterly conference call on Jan. 23.
“The board concluded that the issues of greatest concern for … Griege are best addressed with the company’s current strategic planning, which has thus far produced extraordinary growth, diversification and shareholder value,” Mark Mason, HomeStreet’s president and CEO, said during the call.
“As with other shareholders, we continue to offer to engage with … Griege regarding his ideas for maximizing shareholder value,” Mason added. “The board continues to welcome shareholder feedback both from Blue Lion and from our broader shareholder base.”
HomeStreet usually holds its annual meeting in late May.