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Pulte feud aims at board, calls for resignation

The highly public leadership dispute for PulteGroup just took another contentious turn. The company's founder, William Pulte, has called for James Postl to immediately resign from the board of directors.

This comes just weeks after his request for current CEO Richard Dugas to resign.

In a letter released by William Pulte on Wednesday, he wrote "It is my conviction that Richard Dugas and James Postl must resign immediately from all their positions with the company."

Additionally, Pulte stated that in the event that Dugas and Postl refuse to resign immediately and be replaced by direct shareholder representatives, he will vote against the entire board in this year's shareholder meeting.

In an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer on Wednesday, Pulte's grandson and Pulte Capital Partners CEO Bill Pulte said "We believe that Jim and Richard are still really running the company, remember they hold chairman, CEO and lead director."





PulteGroup Inc. signage directs visitors to the Sage housing development sales center in San Jose, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
PulteGroup Inc. signage directs visitors to the Sage housing development sales center in San Jose, California.
"We believe that Jim and Richard are still really running the company." -Bill Pulte

The request for Postl's resignation stemmed from what Pulte considered a "massively failed deal" with Centex, where William Pulte's letter stated that shareholders lost more than $1.46 billion.

"We need someone on the board to work with them constructively. We will meet with them any time, unfortunately our calls haven't been answered," Pulte said.

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When Cramer asked Pulte if he would like to become CEO of PulteGroup, he responded "Absolutely not, no. Frankly, I'm not qualified to be the CEO of the company, but at the same time I can say that Mr. Dugas with all due respect, losing $500 million doesn't qualify you to run this company."

PulteGroup is the nation's third-largest homebuilder and was founded by William Pulte in 1950. He and five friends built a house near Detroit and sold it for $10,000. Six decades later, Richard Dugas now stands as the CEO and chairman of the board of directors.

Initial stock performance under Dugas was impressive, with PulteGroup shares more than tripling in just over two years. However, shares collapsed in 2007 going into the financial crisis and have not bounced back nearly as well as other major homebuilders, such as Lennar or D.R. Horton.

The conflict of leadership was ignited by the company's founder and his family against Dugas. The spat was thrust into the public eye in April when the company announced that Dugas planned to step down in May 2017, partially due to pressure from Bill Pulte and his ally on the board of directors, Jim Grosfeld.

Additionally, the company also announced it was trying to boot Grosfeld off the board at the annual shareholder meeting. In response, Bill and William Pulte published a scathing letter to the board reiterating disappointment in Dugas. Since then, Grosfeld has resigned from the board of directors.

"I recently recommended that Pulte should buy KB Home … but while I think that would make a lot of sense, I doubt an issue this contentious will be resolved that easily," the "Mad Money" host said.

In a statement released on April 11, a PulteGroup rep said, "We are disappointed that the Pultes continue to attempt to destabilize the company's leadership and derail our successful value creation strategy through their public statements. Their attacks bear little resemblance of the facts."

PulteGroup did not immediately return calls for comment from CNBC.

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