TORONTO, May 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Garfield Mitchell, Chairman, is pleased to announce the formation of Smoothwater Capital Corporation, and his partnership with Stephen J. Griggs as Chief Executive Officer of Smoothwater Capital.
Under the leadership of Mr. Griggs, Smoothwater Capital will focus on investing its own capital in small to mid-cap Canadian public companies where the market is discounting the value of the assets or business and there is an identifiable path to significantly improve the share value. Potential opportunities include companies with poor corporate governance (such as directors who lack independence or industry expertise), lack of a clear strategy, ineffective management, poor strategy execution, an inappropriate balance sheet, capital structure or use of cash, illiquidity of shares, and lacking other key drivers of share value.
Smoothwater will work collaboratively with other investors to effect change in targeted companies, particularly with institutional investors who hold material illiquid positions but do not have the internal or legal capabilities to actively pursue change or to participate at the board level or in corporate decision-making.
"I am delighted that Stephen has agreed to join Smoothwater Capital as CEO,' said Mr. Mitchell. "We have worked together very successfully in the past at BPI Financial Corporation, and informally from time to time since then. I know that together we can accomplish a great deal with Smoothwater and make a difference in the Canadian capital markets by becoming a leading activist investor".
"Activist investing is a logical next step in my business career, and I look forward to working closely with Garfield again," said Griggs. "At CCGG, I spent three years becoming a leading expert in corporate governance and building strong relationships across Canada. Together, we intend to use these skills and relationships and my background in investment management, business and law to make investments in public companies that are trading at well below their intrinsic value yet have a clear new pathway to significantly increase value for all shareholders."
Smoothwater and Mitchell have made an initial investment by acquiring a 22.07% interest in Calgary based Genesis Land Development Corp.. Smoothwater has identified a number of initiatives that Genesis can take to significantly improve its share value over time and is communicating with the board of directors and like minded investors with the goal of having the company pursue some or all of these options.
Mitchell is a Toronto based private investor and a director of a number of public, private and charitable entities, including Viking Gold Exploration Inc., The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the Donner Canadian Foundation.
Griggs is one of Canada's leading corporate governance experts with extensive senior executive experience in the investment management industry and is also a lawyer. He was most recently the President and CEO of OPTrust, a major Ontario public sector pension plan, leading OPTrust's integrated investment and administrative operations. Prior to joining OPTrust in mid-2011, Mr. Griggs served for three years as Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, representing the interests of leading Canadian pension plans and other institutional shareholders. As Executive Director, Mr. Griggs was instrumental in developing and implementing the Coalition's guidelines on board engagement, proxy circular disclosure, majority voting, executive compensation and "say on pay". He also served during this time as Chairman and Partner of Investeco Capital Corp., Canada's first environmental investment company.
Griggs was the President and CEO of Legg Mason Canada Inc. from January 2003 to June 2007, with responsibility for the Canadian operations of Legg Mason, Inc., one of the world's largest global investment management firms, and has been Chief Operating Officer of two leading Canadian mutual fund companies. Mr. Griggs is an active corporate director and is on the board of Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Toronto Pearson International Airport, is on the Independent Review Committee of ING Mutual Funds, is Chair of the IRC of IA Clarington Funds, and is on the board of several charitable organizations.
SOURCE: Smoothwater Capital Corporation
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