Saturday, December 11, 2021

Proxy battle brewing at Republic First in Pennsylvania

An activist investor plans to nominate three candidates for the board of Republic First Bancorp in Philadelphia. 

Driver Management also wants the $5.4 billion-asset Republic to replace Vernon Hill, the company’s CEO, with an independent chairman. The investor has also voiced its opposition to a plan by Republic First to raise more capital. 

Driver has submitted a notice of intent to nominate Peter Bartholow, Pamela Bundy and Richard Sinkfield III to stand for election for board seats at company’s 2022 annual meeting. Bartholow is a former chief financial officer at Texas Capital Bancshares. 

Republic First disclosed in a press release that it tried to arrange interviews with Driver’s nominees. Republic First said it didn’t see eye to eye with certain stipulations presented by the investor, including removing Hill as chairman and reimbursement of “out-of-pocket costs” tied to its investment in the company. 

“Although Driver will not support any interviews taking place, the board intends to reach out to Bartholow, Bundy and Sinkfield to see if they would independently agree to schedule interviews,” Republic First said. 

Driver has locked horns with several other banks in recent years, including Codorus ValleyBancorp in York, Pa., and First United in Oakland, Md.

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