Alcoa Inc. is injecting aerospace and automotive experience into its board in an agreement with activist fund Elliott Management Corp. as the biggest U.S. aluminum producer prepares to split into two companies.
Elliott is the hedge fund that has a big stake in Sidney, Nebraska-based Cabela's and is pressing for big changes at the retailer; so far, the fund hasn't publicly called for a change in Cabela's board.
At Alcoa, Ulrich Schmidt, John Plant and Sean Mahoney were appointed to the board, with Elliott agreeing to support nominees at the annual meeting, Alcoa said.
Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld is keeping Paul Singer-founded Elliott on his side as he prepares to separate metal-making assets from segments that manufacture components for aircraft, vehicles and building products. Commodity companies such as Alcoa and Freeport McMoRan Inc. have been receptive to investor demands as slumping prices weaken balance sheets.
While Elliott has sought changes at major companies including Hess Corp. and Samsung Group, it built up a 7.5 percent stake in Alcoa on the assumption that the market was undervaluing its manufacturing business because of the metal price rout. Alcoa's shares fell 37 percent in 2015.