Activist investor Sardar Biglari has picked a former CEO of Clarcor as the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store director he wants to replace at next month’s annual shareholders’ meeting.
Biglari, who has tried in vain four times in the past decade to gain a foothold on Cracker Barrel’s board, has put forward New Jersey dining and hospitality executive Raymond Barbrick to fill the seat now held by Norm Johnson, who led Clarcor from 2000 to 2010. Johnson, 72, was first elected to the Cracker Barrel board in the summer of 2012.
In a letter to investors last week, Cracker Barrel President and CEO Sandy Cochran said the company hired a recruiting firm to review Barbrick’s credentials and interview him — several directors also talked to Barbrick — but ultimately chose to go with former Sam’s Club COO Gisel Ruiz.
“We do not believe Mr. Biglari’s views are credible given his long-term track record of lagging performance and problematic governance practices at his own company,” wrote Cochran, whom Biglari has criticized for pumping more than $130 million into and then abandoning its investment in Punch Bowl Social. “After having sold off more than half his interest in Cracker Barrel during the past two years, we believe that Mr. Biglari is now trying, for the fifth time in 10 years, to use a proxy contest to advance his own interests.”
Cracker Barrel shares (Ticker: CBRL) climbed 3.5 percent to $118.30 Friday. They started 2020 around $155 but fell below $70 in March before recovering more than half of those losses.