Barnes Group board recommends annual elections

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Barnes Group Inc., an aerospace and industrial parts supplier, said Friday that its board of directors has recommended declassifying the board so that all directors are elected annually.

Directors on classified boards generally have terms of differing lengths.

The change must be approved by shareholders at the company's 2013 annual meeting. If the change is approved, directors whose terms are expiring will stand for election to one-year terms beginning in 2014. All directors will be elected to one-year terms beginning in 2016.

The board voted to eliminate supermajority voting requirements for the election and removal of directors. It also voted to allow shareholders holding at least 40 percent of the company's common shares to call special meetings. Bank of America is currently the company's largest shareholder, with a 10-percent stake.

Gary G. Benanav, who heads the board's corporate governance committee, said the company, based in Bristol, Conn., has been discussing the changes with shareholders for several years.

"Today's announcement to implement wide-ranging corporate governance changes demonstrates the board's commitment to enacting sound and responsive shareholder-focused corporate governance policies that our stockholders have indicated they support," Benanav said in a statement.

Barnes Group shares fell 62 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $23.88 amid a broad market sell-off.