Tuesday, May 20, 2008

PEU Peter Pace Packs Punch in Proxy Pugilism

Proxy materials from SM&A indicate retired General and Board candidate Peter Pace knows how to take sides in their proxy fight. The letter from Board Chair Dwight Hanger states:

Likewise, two of our most valuable assets—Cathy McCarthy and retired General Peter Pace—have also expressed to me in no uncertain terms that they will not work for a company in which Steven Myers (the enemy) exerts influence or control. A year ago at this time, General Pace was the nation’s highest ranking military officer, serving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as part of a long, distinguished career of service to our nation. When he agreed to join us upon his retirement, he made it clear that the reason he chose SM&A was because of the quality of your board, the first-rate management team that took over last year and a sharply focused strategic plan that he can help us execute using his extraordinary depth of knowledge and contacts. We accordingly refined our strategic plan with a pivotal role for General Pace as President and CEO of SM&A Strategic Advisors. As he has told many of you directly, he will not be willing to stay on if Myers were to return or successfully place his slate of directors on the board.

We would hate to lose any of these managers and executives who are such valuable contributors to the new SM&A that is emerging from its past. But if there is a change in the composition of our board, it will trigger another round of management and board change at a time when your company is finally beginning to distance itself from its tumultuous past.

Dwight clearly told us where Peter sits. Apparently General Pace is willing to walk away from his first year compensation of $560,000. In addition to his part time work for SM&A, Peter Pace landed a job with Berman Capital, a private equity underwriter (PEU), and a spot on the Neohapsis board.

I found the description of SM&A interesting in light of the strategic shift and tumultuous past mentioned in Chairman Hanger's proxy letter:

SM&A is the world’s foremost management consulting firm providing leadership and mentoring solutions...

It seems they've encountered their share of leadership problems for the "world's foremost consulting firm." But now they have a fighting man on their side.