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Tractor Supply CEO Leaves Kirkland's Board Amid Pushback on 'Overboarding'

By Colin Kellaher

 

Kirkland's Inc. (KIRK) on Friday said Greg Sandfort, chief executive of Tractor Supply Co. (TSCO), has resigned from the Kirkland board amid a growing push by large investors and proxy advisers against so-called "overboarding."

In a resignation letter to Kirkland's, Mr. Sandfort said some large institutional shareholders of Tractor Supply recently have adopted policies urging public company CEOs to limit themselves to one outside board membership.

Tractor Supply last week said it launched a search for a successor to Mr. Sandfort and extended his employment contract through the end of next year.

Mr. Sandfort, who had been serving on the boards of Tractor Supply, Kirkland's and WD-40 Co. (WDFC), said he would remain a director at WD-40 due to his longer tenure on that board and his role as chairman of the compensation committee.

Major institutional investors, governance advisers and company boards themselves, concerned that overstretched directors lack time to adequately handle their duties, in recent years have been are cracking down on overboarding, trying to ensure that directors don't spread themselves too thin.

Institutional investors owns about 37% of Tractor Supply, according to FactSet, led by money-management giant Vanguard Group, which holds a 10.4% stake.

According to its website, Vanguard says its funds generally will vote against active executives who sit on more than one public company board beyond their employer's.

BlackRock Inc. (BLK), the world's largest asset manager, also has been voting against directors due to overboarding concerns. BlackRock funds own about 5.5% of Tractor Supply.

 

Write to Colin Kellaher at colin.kellaher@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 30, 2019 11:11 ET (15:11 GMT)

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