Bruce M. Smith plans to retire from the board of Milwaukee-based A.O. Smith Corp. when his term ends in April, leaving the company with one member of the Smith family on its board, according to securities filings.
Smith has been an A.O. Smith board member since 1995. He will remain one of three trustees of the Smith Family Voting Trust, which holds a controlling position of A.O. Smith’s stock.
“Our company and the board would like to thank Mr. Smith for his vision, long service and many contributions to our company,” Kevin Wheeler, chairman and CEO of A.O. Smith, wrote in a letter to shareholders. “His service as a representative of the Smith family has left an indelible mark on our company, both in his commitment to our guiding principles as a cornerstone of our business and in the Smith family's commitment to a long-term strategy that has served as the foundation for our sustained growth. Our company and stockholders are forever indebted to him.”
The Smith Family Voting Trust holds nearly 97% of the Class A stock in A.O. Smith. Class A shares get a full vote on all matters while common stock shares are entitled to a one-tenth vote on items not related to the boards common stock directors. The Class A stockholders nominate six of the board’s 11 directors.
Smith had reached the board’s director retirement age of 72 when he was elected last year, but was asked to stay on for an additional year as the board was adding two new directors.
His departure will leave Mark Smith as the only Smith family member on the company’s board. Mark is the cousin of Bruce and Robert Smith. All three are trustees of the voting trust.
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