Specialty retailer Aaron’s has named Brian R. Kahn to its board. The appointment becomes effective May 20. Also, Matthew E. Avril will join the board as well. Kahn is a managing member of Vintage Capital Management, an Aaron’s shareholder, while Avril is the former president of Starwood’s hotel group.
ATLANTA and ORLANDO, Fla., May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), the leading lease-to-own specialty retailer that offers flexible payment options for credit-challenged individuals, today announced that it has reached an agreement with Vintage Capital Management, LLC (“Vintage”), the Company’s second largest shareholder. Pursuant to the agreement, Aaron’s will expand the size of its Board from eight to ten directors. Brian R. Kahn, Managing Member of Vintage, has been appointed to the Board, effective May 20, 2014, and included in the Company’s slate of director nominees for election at the 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. In addition, within 30 days following the 2014 Annual Meeting, Matthew E. Avril, former President of the Hotel Group of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (“Starwood”), will be appointed to the Board.
Ray M. Robinson, Chairman of the Aaron’s Board, said, “We continue to engage in active dialogue with our shareholders and greatly appreciate the support we have received. We look forward to working with Brian and Matt as we integrate the Progressive Finance acquisition and execute Aaron’s strategic plan to improve our business and deliver lasting value for Aaron’s shareholders.”
Mr. Kahn said, “Aaron’s has taken and will continue to take important steps to enhance its industry leading growth and profitability profile. I have been involved with Aaron’s for many years, as a franchisee, as a large shareholder and now as a Board member. Matt and I look forward to working with our fellow Aaron’s directors to help fully realize the potential of this great Company.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Vintage has agreed to vote its shares in support of all of the Board’s director nominees at the 2014 Annual Meeting. In addition, the Board has formed a new Operational and Financial Advisory Committee that will provide input on matters related to Aaron’s core business. The founding members of the Committee will be Ray Robinson, Ron Allen and Brian Kahn. Aaron’s will also continue to review its corporate governance practices as well as work to explore opportunities, as appropriate, to reduce its operating expenses.
The complete agreement with Vintage will be filed on a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Brian R. Kahn
Brian R. Kahn founded and has served as the investment manager of Vintage and its predecessor since 1998. Mr. Kahn has served as Chairman of API Technologies Corp. (“API”) since January 2011; from January 2011 to August 2012, Mr. Kahn also served as Chief Executive Officer of API. From October 2011 to July 2012, Mr. Kahn was a director of Integral Systems, Inc. From September 2009 to April 2010, Mr. Kahn was the Chairman of White Electronic Designs Corporation. Earlier in his career, Mr. Kahn was the owner of Rosey Rentals L. P., which at the time was the second-largest franchisee of Aaron’s, Ace TV Rental and Choice Rent-to-Own.
Matthew E. Avril
Matthew E. Avril retired from Starwood in December 2012, where he had served as President, Hotel Group since September 2008. Mr. Avril was responsible for hotel operations worldwide for Starwood’s nine hotel brands, consisting of approximately 1,100 properties in more than 97 countries. Mr. Avril also oversaw Starwood’s global sales organization. Mr. Avril began his career with Starwood in 1989 through Vistana, Inc., the predecessor to Starwood Vacation Ownership. Mr. Avril is a director of API and Zentila.
About Aaron’s, Inc.
Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leader in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of residential furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories, has more than 2,130 Company-operated and franchised stores in 48 states and Canada. Aaron’s was founded in 1955, is headquartered in Atlanta and has been publicly traded since 1982. For more information, visit www.aarons.com. Aaron’s, Inc. includes the Aarons.com and ShopHomeSmart.com brands.
About Vintage Capital Management, LLC
Vintage Capital Management, LLC is a value-oriented, operations-focused private and public equity investor specializing in the aerospace & defense, manufacturing and consumer sectors with a 15-year track record of consistently successful returns. Vintage adheres strictly to a capital preservation approach defined by its commitment to control (economic or otherwise); vigilant analysis; structural advantages; and partnership with successful operators well known to Vintage.