Wednesday, August 26, 2020

No. 389: Philip Falcone's Departure from His Public Company

Falcone and Kanawha
My first post mentioning Philip A. Falcone (CRD#1442413) was No. 242 (November 20, 2017). There I said a block of long-term care (LTC) insurance policies, originally issued by South Carolina-domiciled Kanawha Insurance Company, was being acquired by Continental General Insurance Company (CGIC), a subsidiary of HC2 Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HCHC). The Kanawha LTC block had been acquired earlier by Humana, but Falcone announced in late 2017 that CGIC was acquiring Kanawha's LTC block.

On July 12, 2018, the South Carolina director of insurance issued an order approving the merger of Kanawha into Texas-domiciled CGIC, and the redomestication of Kanawha from South Carolina to Texas. The order included a "continuing obligation of CGIC" that "Falcone shall not have any role in the day-to-day operations of Kanawha or CGIC pre- or post-merger." The order also included a requirement that HC2 maintain a certain risk-based capital ratio for CGIC.

Falcone and the SEC
In No. 244 (December 11, 2017), I discussed Falcone's settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). On August 16, 2013, Falcone and Harbinger Capital Holdings LLC, his New York hedge fund, settled two SEC complaints, admitted wrongdoing, and paid civil penalties of more than $18 million. Falcone agreed to be barred from the securities industry for at least five years, but he was not barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company. In 2014, Falcone became chairman, president, and chief executive officer of HC2. In HC2's filings with the SEC, there was no disclosure of Falcone's settlements with the SEC. Also, in CGIC's statutory filings with state insurance regulators, there was no disclosure of Falcone's settlements with the SEC; indeed, there was no mention of Falcone's name.

The Revolt
In No. 357 (February 25, 2020) I said Falcone was facing a shareholder revolt. On January 27, 2020, several disgruntled HC2 shareholders filed with the SEC some proxy material that included a letter to shareholders announcing a plan to file a preliminary proxy statement in which the disgruntled shareholders would solicit votes for the election of their own slate of directors. Here is the final section of the letter:
Time for a Change: Management's unsuitability, consistent under performance and self-dealing patently disqualify them from continuing to manage the Company. This is why we intend to run our own slate for the Company's board at the next meeting of shareholders as a matter of first priority. Management has wasted six years destroying shareholder value. It's time for a fresh approach.
A Glaring Omission
On February 11, 2020, HC2 filed with the SEC an 8-K (significant event) report. A press release was attached to the 8-K. The 8-K and the press release announced the appointment of an additional member to the board of directors, increasing the size of the board from five to six. However, the 8-K also included these comments, which inexplicably were omitted from the press release:
The Compensation Committee of the Board ... has determined that Philip A. Falcone ... will not receive any bonus or other incentive compensation in respect of 2019, whether under the HC2 Executive Bonus Plan ... or otherwise.... Additional information regarding these matters will be provided in the 2020 Proxy Statement.
Falcone's Compensation
On May 27, 2020, HC2 filed with the SEC some proxy material that included the 2019 summary compensation table. The table shows that for 2019 Falcone received $600,000 of salary and no other compensation. The same table shows that for 2018 he received $600,000 of salary and $10,935,545 of other compensation (stock awards, option awards, and non-equity executive plan compensation), for a total of $11,535,545. The report accompanying the summary compensation table includes an extensive discussion of Falcone's compensation.

Falcone's Departure
On July 6, 2020, HC2 issued a press release. It said, among other things:
The Company additionally announced that, in light of the recent change in the Company's executive management, Philip A. Falcone will not be included on the Company's slate of director nominees for the Annual Meeting [scheduled for July 30, 2020].
General Observations
I originally wrote about Falcone because of his involvement with Kanawha's LTC insurance block. Now that he is no longer connected in any way with that block, I do not plan to write further about him.