The St. Joe Company (NYSE:JOE) on Monday announced that CEO and president Britt Greene had agreed to resign along with three members of the company's board in an agreement with its largest shareholder, Fairholme Funds Inc.
Miami-based Fairholme, which owns approximately 30% of the company, had been agitating for changes in management and direction for several months.
In addition to Greene, Michael L. Ainslie, John S. Lord and Walter L. Revell agreed to leave the St. Joe board. Bruce R. Berkowitz, president and director of Fairholme Funds Inc. and Charles M. Fernandez, a Fairholme vp and also a director, will join the board as will four others including former Florida Governor Charles Crist. Hugh Durden will remain chairman.
The company said it will conduct a search for Greene's successor and at least one new independent board member.
Shares of Joe closed down 3.2% at $27.02 on a down day for nearly all the housing related sector.
Buck Horne, home building analyst at Raymond James, was concerned with the move. "We think the abatement of a potentially costly proxy fight is a positive for all shareholders, but these actions do raise significant questions, in our view, about the strategic direction of the company," he wrote in a research alert. "Moreover, we have growing concerns that all of the recent turmoil the company has endured could lead potential end-users of St. Joe's real estate to delay new commitments until more corporate stability is achieved."