Jason Alden/Bloomberg News

Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO of trucking supplier Arconic Inc., stepped down after showing what the board of directors called “poor judgment” in sending a letter to Elliott Management Corp. amid a proxy fight.

David Hess, a board member, has been appointed interim CEO, the company said in a statement April 17. Lead director Patricia Russo will take over as interim board chair.

“Mr. Kleinfeld stepped down as Chair and CEO by mutual agreement after the Board learned that, without consultation with or authorization by the Board, he had sent a letter directly to a senior officer of Elliott Management that the Board determined showed poor judgment,” Arconic said in the statement.

The resignation disrupts what had been shaping up to be the biggest and most aggressive U.S. proxy battle this season. Elliott had been seeking to oust Kleinfeld and replace four directors at the aluminum parts maker’s May 16 annual meeting.

On Nov. 1, Arconic launched as a global provider of multimaterial manufactured products after its separation from Alcoa Corp., which remains as a bauxite, alumina and aluminum company.

Arconic signed more than $450 million in long-term global agreements in January for its forged aluminum wheels over the past year with customers in the truck, trailer, bus and recreational vehicle segments — with its largest agreement involving truck maker Paccar Inc.

By Jack Kaskey
Bloomberg News

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