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Voce wins backing for Argo shareholder meeting

A Voce Capital Management LLC fund filed a requisition notice Dec. 20 that requires Argo Group International Holdings Ltd.'s board to hold a special general meeting of shareholders within 60 days from the date of the filing.

Voce secured the support of shareholders holding more than 10% of Argo's outstanding common shares, allowing it to requisition the meeting. The special meeting is being called to allow shareholders to vote on the replacement of five directors, who have already announced their plans to stand down, with five nominees.

The directors standing down are Chairman Gary Woods, Hector De Leon, John Power Jr., Mural Josephson and F. Sedgwick Browne. The nominated replacements are Nicholas Walsh, Carol McFate, Charles Dangelo, Kathleen Dussault and Bernard Bailey.

Argo had previously told shareholders to reject activist investor Voce's proposal to hold the special meeting. It said when announcing the retirement of the five directors that it had engaged an executive search firm to recommend candidates to replace them, and it said Dec. 18 that its annual general meeting would be held March 24, 2020, or earlier at the board's discretion.

The company has been involved in conflict with Voce after the latter in February accused former Argo CEO Mark Watson of spending corporate funds inappropriately.