Diamond Foods' stock was sharply lower Wednesday, following Tuesday's afterhours decline on news that a key director and audit committee member had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
I reported after the market close Tuesday that the coroner’s office in Stanislaus County, Ca., told me Joseph Silveira had apparently taken his own life. Diamond Foods first reported his death Nov. 17 and gave no details at the time.
His death occurred two weeks after the company’s stock began a decline of more than 40 percent—after Diamond said it was delaying its purchase of Pringles from Procter & Gamble .
According to the company at the time:
“Diamond and P&G have revised the expected closing date of the acquisition following the receipt by the Chairman of the Audit Committee of Diamond's Board of Directors of an external communication regarding Diamond's accounting for certain crop payments to walnut growers. In response to the communication, Diamond's Audit Committee decided to perform an investigation of this matter. Management is fully committed to supporting the Audit Committee in this process.”
Diamond told me yesterday that Silveira, who managed walnut properties, had recused himself from the investigation.
The company issued a statement saying:
“Joe served Diamond shareholders as a director with dignity and dedication for many years. Any suggestion that his passing was somehow related to the accounting investigation by people seeking to profit by spreading such unfounded rumors is demeaning to his legacy.”
The shares touched a low of $29.02 in late trading Tuesday, and were as low as $29.45 in the Wednesday morning trading.
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