Taubman Centers Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, which owns, manages, and/or leases 27 luxury and outlet shopping malls in the United States and Asia, including Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, today announced that its board of directors will transition to holding annual elections and accelerate board refreshment.
Myron “Mike” E. Ullman III, lead director of Taubman Centers and chairman of the board’s nominating and corporate governance committee, says the company will undertake the actions no later than the 2018 annual meeting. The move was in response to recent interviews the company had with many of its shareholders.
In turn, Jonathan Litt, co-founder of Land and Buildings Investment Management in Connecticut, last year launched a proxy battle for two of Taubman Centers’ board seats — those currently held by Robert S. Taubman, president, CEO, and chairman; and Ullman. The company was founded in 1950 by Taubman’s father, the late A. Alfred Taubman.
Ullman says the feedback from shareholders included “the company’s overall performance and business strategy, board structure, and director qualifications. We discussed with shareholders Taubman’s outstanding long-term performance and best-in-class assets, strong competitive position to navigate the rapidly evolving retail environment, and continual governance enhancements year after year.”
To that end, the company recently appointed Cia Buckley Marakovits as a new independent director. In turn, the company created a lead director role to replace its previous presiding director structure.
“The Board’s unanimous decision to support these commitments in the context of on-going engagement with our shareholders reflects Taubman’s commitment to listening and responding to investor viewpoints as a vital element in our efforts to deliver superior, long-term shareholder value,” Ullman says. “We look forward to continued meaningful dialogue with our shareholders and are gratified for their transparency and directness with us.”
Among Litt’s proposals for Taubman going forward, he recommended the company curtail new development projects, sell to a third party, move Taubman Asia to joint venture to better monetize the division, among other initiatives.