Barrett shareholder seeks board shake-up

Founder’s widow expresses support for CEO, managers

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

Published:

 

Barrett Business Services Inc.’s largest shareholder wants to put the Vancouver human resources consulting company under new board leadership.

But Kimberly Sherertz, widow of former Barrett CEO William Sherertz, also expressed support Monday for the company’s CEO, management and branch managers.

The company’s branch managers are the “lifeblood of the company, which my late husband built from the ground up,” Sherertz said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Sherertz said she looks forward to introducing the company’s CEO, Michael Elich, to the new slate of directors that she and other shareholders will propose.

Monday’s SEC filing is the latest twist in a proxy battle Sherertz launched on Nov. 21, when she said in a regulatory filing that she would “assemble a slate of directors” to nominate for the company’s board at its next annual meeting.

Barrett, which provides human resource outsourcing and professional management consulting services, held its 2011 annual board meeting on May 18.

Sherertz’s announcement of a proxy battle followed another SEC filing on Oct. 6 in which she said she observed “with alarm the extremely small stock ownership of the current members” of the company’s board. “Boards made up of people that own little stock are comparatively more likely to make imprudent acquisitions,” Sherertz said.

Sherertz was appointed sole representative of the estate of William Sherertz, 64, who died unexpectedly in January. The estate owns roughly 25 percent of Barrett’s stock.

Kimberly Sherertz, an administrator at Oregon Logistics Distribution Co., has previously asked the company’s board to expand from six to nine members. She has proposed the board add her and two executives that she would recommend.

During Barrett’s third-quarter earnings call, Elich, the company’s CEO, addressed his and the board’s relationship with shareholders, saying “our door continues to always be open.”

Barrett stock, which trades as BBSI, closed up 1.90 percent Monday, at $19.35 per share.