The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (Teachers’) confirmed on October 28, that its directors on the board of Maple Leaf Foods—a company in which Teachers’ is a long-time major shareholder of—have resigned.

Wayne Kozun, the pension fund’s senior vice-president of public equities, and William Royan, its vice-president of relationship investing, were the two board members who quit. They did so after the board confirmed the minutes of a previous meeting at which the company’s business plan was approved.

The Teachers’ representatives wanted the minutes to be changed to reflect that their prior approval of the plan had been intended to be subject to the completion of analysis by management of pre-funding options available to the company, especially with respect to the sale of its Rothsay rendering business, a Maple Leaf press release stated.

“The board has accepted these resignations, but the reasons given for them seem to be inconsistent with Mr. Kozun’s and Mr. Royan’s repeated support for the company’s strategy,” stated James Hankinson, chair of the corporate governance committee. “The board unanimously approved the strategic plan including a requirement that management examine whether partial pre-funding of the plan is warranted. At no time was the approval of the plan conditional upon the outcome of the review.”

A report from the Business News Network suggested “the highly unusual move illustrates the degree to which the relationship between the pension plan and Maple Leaf has degenerated. The two directors tendered their resignations despite the fact that Teachers’ continues to hold a sizable chunk of Maple Leaf shares, and therefore has reason to want to wield influence on the board.”

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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