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Logitech Snubs Founder, Denies Request for a New Chair Vote

A customer carries a Logitech keyboard and mouse at a JB Hi-Fi Ltd. store in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. Australia’s consumer sentiment remained deeply pessimistic and business confidence turned negative for the first time this year as rapid-fire interest rate increases dragged on the economy. (Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- Computer-accessory maker Logitech International SA stalled founder Daniel Borel’s efforts to oust its board chair, denying his request to consider a replacement at the company’s shareholder meeting on Sept. 4.

Borel had pressed the company to introduce a proposal at its annual meeting to replace its chair, Wendy Becker, with Guy Gecht, who already serves on the board. Logitech said late Monday that it will not be putting Gecht up for a vote as he has said he isn’t willing to serve as chair and supports Becker.

“Guy Gecht’s refusal to stand for election as chair is a lost opportunity for him and for the company,” Borel said, adding that his proposal was meant to be “for Logitech, not against it.”  

The denial of Borel’s request marks the latest twist in a monthslong saga in which the founder has repeatedly blasted Becker and Logitech’s broader leadership team for, among other things, lacking the technological acumen to oversee the business. Becker announced plans last week to resign as chair of the board in 2025. Borel responded to her decision by saying her departure wouldn’t come soon enough.

Sales of the Swiss company’s keyboards, webcams and other products declined following a pandemic-era work-from-home boom. But the stock has been recovering since late 2022, growing about 60% over the past year. Shares gained 0.4% on Monday.

“In selecting Ms. Becker to continue to lead the board as its independent chairperson, the board of directors also considered a shareholder proposal to nominate Mr. Guy Gecht as board chairperson,” the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, without mentioning Borel by name.

In a separate statement supporting Becker’s chair seat, a Logitech spokesperson noted that a shareholder who invested in Logitech when Wendy became chair in 2019 has since “more than doubled their investment.”

Borel took the matter to court and requested an injunction last week to force the company to include his proposal, according to letters seen by Bloomberg. “The designation of the chair is for the shareholders to decide under Swiss law, not the board,” he said. Borel also said that having the chairwoman on the way out was “hardly an exciting prospect for shareholders.”

(Updated with comments from Daniel Borel)

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