Late last month, Bill Ackman announced that he had taken a sizeable chunk of Pershing Square Asset Management’s remaining assets and invested them in a sizeable chunk of Automatic Data Processing shares. This was all apparently part of his plan to replace half of ADP’s board of directors and oust its CEO, but it left with him precious little time to actually put together a credible slate of five candidates, given Friday’s deadline for nominating said candidates. So Bill went ahead and asked for an extension; the people whose scalps he sought were unsurprisingly unwilling to give him one. That gave Ackman just a few days to find four people not named Bill Ackman to stand with him; he could find only two: former Bechtel Group CFO V. Paul Unruh and former Polymer Group CEO Veronica Hagen, who are a combined 139 years old but who would be charged with helping ADP figure out this whole cloud computing thing. With the smaller slate comes a concomitantly smaller set of ambitions, which no longer include CEO Carlos Rodriguez’s scalp. None of it is impressing.
"(Pershing Square's) is not a board slate that will likely have high impact on ADP. These nominees don't seem to have deep expertise in the areas in which the company needs to make significant improvements," said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business….
Reuters first reported on the nominations earlier on Monday based on a source familiar with the matter, who also said that Pershing Square would not call for the ouster of ADP's CEO Carlos Rodriguez, but would indicate it is happy to work with the company's management as long as it was open to significant changes at ADP.
ADP suggested last week that Pershing Square wanted to assume effective control of the company by seeking five board directors. The three-director slate would give Pershing Square significant influence at the company, but not control.