Hess directors too comfortable?

By Laurie Bennett

January 31, 2013 at 3:53pm

It may be time for new faces in the Hess Corporation board room.

Hedge fund Elliott Associates has notified the energy company that it may nominate candidates at the annual meeting.

On Dealbook, Christopher Swann describes a “too-cozy board” where members hold their positions 50 percent longer than the average S&P 500 director.

Part of that coziness comes from Hess’s weakness for ex-government officials.

Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean has been a director for 23 years. Kean also sits on the board of the foundation run by the company chairman and CEO, John Hess. Until recently, Kean chaired the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is headed by another Hess director, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey.

Former Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady has been on the board for 19 years. Fellow director Edith Holliday was Brady’s aide when he was in the Senate.

Another former senator, Sam Nunn, joined the board in August. Another former Treasury official, Samuel Bodman III, joined the board in 2009. Bodman was energy secretary during the George W. Bush administration.

Compensation for Hess directors ranged from $257,325 to $293,190 in 2011, according to the company’s most recent proxy statement.

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