Bloomberg News

Leucadia Says Chairman Ian Cumming to Step Down in 2015

April 13, 2012

Leucadia National Corp. (LUK:US), the largest shareholder of Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF:US), said Chairman Ian Cumming doesn’t plan to request a renewal of his employment contract, which ends in June 2015.

Cumming, 71, will stand for re-election to the board of directors at the annual meeting next month, the New York-based holding company said today in a regulatory filing.

The chairman since 1978, Cumming has worked with Leucadia President Joseph Steinberg to build the company, which has made investments in mortgages, mining and vineyards. Leucadia has entered a venture with billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A:US) to invest in commercial real estate.

“Over the next few years there will undoubtedly be more developments on the succession front,” Cumming and Steinberg said in a letter to investors posted today on the company’s website. “We will keep you informed.”

Leucadia’s stock has advanced at a compound annual growth rate of about 26 percent from 1978 through the end of 2011, the firm said in the letter.

Cumming and Steinberg, who have been praised by Buffett in at least two of his annual letters to Berkshire shareholders, wrote that they like their holdings in Jefferies, Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN) and Mueller Industries Inc. (MLI:US), adding that the companies “will do well if the economy continues on its recovery.”

‘Finest Hour’

Jefferies Chief Executive Officer Richard Handler and Brian Friedman, chairman of the New York-based investment bank’s executive committee, acted with “honesty and transparency” as the company was “falsely accused” of having a balance sheet similar to that of MF Global Holdings Ltd., the firm that collapsed on Oct. 31., Cumming and Steinberg wrote.

Amid a 14 percent stock slide in November, Handler revealed Jefferies’s holdings in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain after a $6.3 billion bet on the bonds of Europe’s most indebted nations helped lead to MF Global’s bankruptcy. In the letter, Cumming and Steinberg called Jefferies’s response “their finest hour.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Marcinek in New York at lmarcinek3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net


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Companies Mentioned

  • LUK
    (Leucadia National Corp)
    • $25.53 USD
    • 0.20
    • 0.78%
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