New Calista board makes changes at first meeting

by Angela Denning-Barnes on November 13, 2012

A lot is changing with Calista, the Native corporation that represents shareholders from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. 24-year-board member Felix Hess, was voted out by shareholders at the annual meeting November 3. Then on November 7, the new board removed him from his paid position as “Representative Office of the Chairman” which he took up when President Andrew Guy was put on administrative leave. Hess was paid a salary of $100,000.

“That position was eliminated and Felix Hess’ employment was terminated,” said Thom Leonard, Calista spokesperson.

The new board reinstated Andrew Guy as President and ended the secret investigation into him after reviewing the report.

Another long-term board member, Art Heckman, who had been the board’s chairman for 18 years, was replaced as Chairman by Willie Kasayulie by the new board. That move follows shareholders electing two new board members at the annual meeting, Robert Beans and Marcie Sherer.

“With the new board members coming in, that’s going to be bring in some new thoughts and ideas and new energy,” Leonard said.

Shareholders have been looking for change. At their annual meeting, they passed several resolutions, including one that limits the chairman to three yearly terms.

Three resolutions essentially eliminate the proxy voting system as it is known. In the past, shareholders were allowed to give their voting powers to the board’s nominating committee to vote their shares for them.

Leonard says one binding resolution changes that process by eliminating the designated board’s slate.

“So that means the nomination committee will no longer have a list of board members they recommend people to vote for,” said Leonard.

Another resolution prevents the nominating committee from viewing shareholder votes before they cast their corporate votes. Yet another resolution-although non-binding-bans the discretionary voting at annual meetings.

“So these are some major changes,” said Leonard.

Shareholders also passed a resolution that requires meetings to be held in Bethel and Anchorage more frequently. Annual meetings have been on rotation between 56 villages, no matter how small or remote they are. Shareholders have elected to hold a meeting in Bethel every 5 years and one in Anchorage every 7 years.

The next board meeting is tentatively set for the second week in December.

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