Bruce Berkowitz

Lessons from the St. Joe board resignation debacle

February 23, 2011: 11:50 AM ET

As discussions between fund manager Bruce Berkowitz and St. Joe progress, shareholders will need to take a close look at any board election slate to ensure that sustainable, positive change takes place at the beleaguered company.

By Eleanor Bloxham, contributor

Boards often move at a glacial pace. The pace, that is, at which glaciers moved before global warming. And sometimes that slow pace can get them in trouble. But is six weeks really long enough for a new director to expect major change on a board?

Bruce Berkowitz resigned from the St. Joe (JOE) board on Valentine's Day after just six weeks, unhappy because of his inability to create change as a director.

Berkowitz told Bloomberg News, "It was clear to us we weren't going to be able to achieve anything further as directors. The only way we can be effective is as shareholders."

This isn't the first time Berkowitz has abruptly resigned from a corporate board. Last year, Berkowitz resigned from the White Mountains Insurance Group board with one day notice. The 2010 proxy that had already gone out to shareholders had to be amended by the company in a subsequent filing. More

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