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Long Wins Conseco Board Seat

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A rebel candidate seems to have won a seat on the Conseco Inc. board.

Conseco, Carmel, Ind., has announced preliminary results from the voting at its annual meeting

Shareholders reelected 8 of Conseco’s 9 board nominees, but they also elected a new director, R. Keith Long.

Long, a principal at Otter Creek Partners I L.P., West Palm Beach, Fla., an investment management firm, replaces Phil Roberts, a retired insurance executive.

Long had argued that change was needed because Conseco’s recent financial performance had been worse than the industry norm.

RiskMetrics Group Inc., New York, a company that provides proxy advice to institutional investment firms and mutual funds, had sent a letter to shareholders urging them to elect Long.

Conseco’s recent financial and stock data have “highlighted sustained periods of underperformance relative to [Conseco's] peers,” RiskMetrics told clients.

Conseco also has suffered losses on its investments greater than those of peer companies, RiskMetrics argued.

Conseco Chief Executive C. James Prieur had urged stockholders to reelect Roberts, whom he said had been “a key member of Conseco’s board since the company’s reorganization in 2003.”

Prieur was reelected to the board, as was R. Glenn Hilliard, Conseco’s chairman.

In other business, Conseco announced shareholders had approved adoption of a stockholders’ rights plan along with a new long-term executive incentive plan.

Shareholders also ratified the reappointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P., New York, as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm.


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