Call For Independent Chairman Of The Board Receives 48 Percent Support
In a vote held Wednesday, 48 percent of the shareholders in Republic Airways Holdings cast ballots backing the appointment of an independent chairman of the board. The Teamsters unions says that the vote indicates current CEO and Chairman Bryan Bedford faces growing investor concerns about what they say is the company’s mismanagement and weak governance structure as "worker unrest spreads through the airline."
The company moved it’s meeting this year from its hometown of Indianapolis, IN, to the offices of its legal counsel in New York City. Noticeably absent from the meeting were any independent directors with Bedford and one other representative from management in attendance to hear shareholder concerns.
“Today’s (Wednesday's) vote reflects a serious lack of confidence by investors in Bryan Bedford’s ability to pilot this airline into the future,” said Ken Hall, General Secretary-Treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The union is a long-term Republic shareholder and representative of nearly half of the airline’s frontline workers. “Shareholders sent a resounding message to the board – it is time to break the CEO’s stranglehold on the company.”
The Teamsters issued a report ... "Independent Board Leadership at Republic Airways –The Final Frontier" ... in which the union noted concerns about what they described as the airline’s "clubby" board and conflicted lead director who have allowed Bedford to create the current crisis at Republic.
The union said that Republic’s "mismanagement" also extends to its labor relations as Teamster-represented pilots, flight attendants and mechanics protested outside the meeting. Republic Airways pilots could soon strike over the company’s failure to address fundamental economic issues. With no wage increase in more than five years, some Republic pilots now qualify for food stamps. They charge that the company is also destroying morale among other work groups by delaying contract negotiations with flight attendants and violating the workplace rights of mechanics.