Ubisoft nominates two independent directors

New appointees would give publisher's board a majority of members from outside the Guillemot family

Ubisoft is continuing its efforts to win the confidence and loyalty of shareholders. Today the publisher announced the nominations of two independent members to its board of directors which, if approved by shareholders, would mean a majority of board members were coming from outside the company.

The two new would-be directors are Corinne Fernandez-Handelsman and Virginie Haas. Fernandez-Handelsman is a partner at senior executive recruitment firm Progress, while Haas is a former IBM executive and currently serves as chief revenue officer at insurance fraud detection startup Shift Technology.

Additionally, the company announced that current independent director Pascale Mounier would be leaving her post September 22.

"We are delighted to continue the expansion of our Board of Directors with the nominations of Corinne and Virginie as independent directors," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said. "If their appointments are approved by our shareholders at the next general meeting, our Board will have an independent majority, and nearly half of the directors will be women. This development reflects our desire to comply with the best corporate governance practices for the benefit of all our shareholders, while also combining the necessary expertise and competencies for Ubisoft's long-term success."

Vivendi, which holds nearly 27% of Ubisoft shares, does not have an officer on the publisher's board of directors. The Guillemot family, which holds 13.6% of Ubisoft's shares, has five members on the board, including Yves Guillemot as chairman.

Speculation of a Vivendi takeover has been essentially constant since the company acquired nearly 7% of Ubisoft almost two years ago in a transaction Yves Guillemot characterized as "unsolicited and unwelcome." Around the same time, Vivendi began acquiring shares of Gameloft, which was founded and at the time run by Ubisoft co-founder Michel Guillemot. Vivendi eventually pushed its stake in the mobile game publisher over 50%, gained control of the board of directors, and replaced Guillemot atop the company with Vivendi COO Stéphane Roussel.

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