PICO HOLDINGS: Eric Speron Named to Board; Julie Sullivan Resigns

As originally appeared in Troubled Company Reporter, by Geoffrey J. Bailey

PICO Holdings, Inc., has appointed Eric Speron to its Board of Directors, effective January 16, 2016. Mr. Speron will be an independent director as defined under Rule 5605(a)(2) of the NASDAQ Marketplace Rules.

Mr. Speron, 35, is a Portfolio Manager and Investment Committee member of First Foundation Advisors, of Irvine, California, which owns 2.7% of PICO shares outstanding. The most recent Form 13F-HR filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicates that First Foundation Advisors owns 619,145 PICO shares. First Foundation Advisors is not among PICO’s 10 largest shareholders. First Foundation Advisors also owns 248,844 shares of UCP Inc., a consolidated PICO subsidiary.

Mr. Speron joined First Foundation Advisors in 2007 from JP Morgan’s Institutional Equity. He is currently a member of the CFA Institute and the Orange County Society of Financial Analysts. Mr. Speron earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major from Georgetown University where he was also voted Academic All-American, Mid-Atlantic, for his academic and athletic accomplishments.

“Eric is an outstanding addition to the PICO Board,” said Kristina M. Leslie, Chair of the PICO Board. “Eric’s extensive familiarity with PICO, his understanding of our business model and his perspective as one of our largest shareholders can greatly benefit PICO.”

John R. Hart, PICO’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Over the past few weeks we have had the chance to seek input from many of our largest shareholders. We believe that the addition to the PICO Board of a new independent director with the insights and perspectives that come with being one of PICO’s largest institutional shareholders is responsive to the input we have received from our shareholders. Given Eric’s years of experience as an investment management professional, we expect him to be a tremendous resource for our Board as we work to return capital to shareholders.”

“I am excited to have the opportunity to serve on the PICO Board,” said Mr. Speron. “I look forward to contributing my experience, as well as the perspective and insight of an institutional investor, to the PICO Board as it oversees PICO’s continued execution of its recently announced change in strategy and plans to return capital to shareholders.”

Mr. Speron will fill the vacancy left by Julie H. Sullivan, PhD, who will resign after six years on the PICO Board. Her resignation is effective December 31, 2015. The PICO 8-K filed with the SEC notes, “Dr. Sullivan’s resignation was not in connection with a disagreement relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.”

At 35, Mr. Speron will be the youngest member of the PICO Board by 15 years, as Ms. Leslie is 50. Mr. Speron is 27 years younger than the average PICO Director, as the average age of the PICO Board, excluding Ms. Sullivan, is 62 years.

Bailey, Geoff J., PICO HOLDINGS: Eric Speron Named to Board; Julie Sullivan Resigns, 19 Troubled Company Reporter 357 (Dec. 23, 2015)

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