(Corrects paragraph three to say Relational sents a letter to
Hess's CEO on Wednesday (not Thursday)
NEW YORK, March 27 Activist investment firm
Relational Investors LLC plans to support a slate of directors
nominated to Hess Corp's board by hedge fund Elliott
Management, saying those nominees would assure greater
accountability at the oil and gas company.
Elliott has been clamoring for change at Hess since January,
when it launched a campaign to seat five new directors on the
board and pitched a plan to break up the company. Hess has since
announced plans to exit its retail gasoline, marketing and
trading businesses, and assembled its own slate of six new
directors for its board.
Relational sent Hess Chief Executive John Hess a letter on
Wednesday to make its position clear. The investment firm, which
owns around 3 percent of Hess' outstanding shares, noted that
the executive may have indicated in meetings with shareholders
that Relational planned to support the Hess nominees.
Relational also urged Hess to negotiate with Elliott.
"Our preference would be a board consisting of you, the
company's six new nominees plus Elliott's five nominees,"
Relational's David Batchelder wrote to the executive. "This
would be a board of which we could all be proud."
Hess could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Reporting By Michael Erman; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)