On March 27, 2013 a group of Starwood Property Trust (STWD) shareholders sent a letter to the Board of Directors advocating for greater independence on STWD’s Board. The letter sent by the Change To Win Investment Group claims that two members of STWD’s Board have relationships with the Company so they can’t be independent and requested that STWD not nominate them for the Board again. Independent Directors are important if the Board is going to act in the shareholders’ interests. The election for Board members will take place at Starwood Property Trust’s annual shareholder meeting May 2, 2013.
The Change to Win group pointed to Strauss Zelnick as being connected to Starwood. Barry Sternlicht, the CEO of Starwood Property Trust and Starwood Capital Group is on the Board of ZelnickMedia. Strauss Zelnick is an Executive of ZelnickMedia. Strauss Zelnick is on the Board of Starwood Property Trust.
The Change to Win group also is concerned about Jeffrey Dishner, an employee of Starwood Capital and a member of Starwood Capital’s board. Starwood Capital is the parent organization of Starwood Property Trust.
Starwood Property Trust representatives have responded to these concerns claiming their Board members are either independent or have specialized industry knowledge and experience.