Republic First Bancorp in Philadelphia, which is facing pressure from two shareholder groups, will not renew an employment agreement with a former CEO.
The $5.4 billion-asset company disclosed in a regulatory filing Wednesday that the agreement with Harry Madonna, its president and chairman emeritus, will end on Feb. 28, 2023. The original agreement had an initial two-year term with optional annual one-year renewals.
The decision comes as Driver Management and a group led by George Norcross III, Gregory Braca and Philip Norcross put pressure on the company and Chairman and CEO Vernon Hill to make changes.
Driver, which has a roughly 1.2% stake in Republic First, said in December that it would nominate three people to stand for election to the company’s board, including Peter Bartholow, a former chief financial offer at Texas Capital Bancshares.
The Norcross-Braca group wants Braca to replace Hill as CEO. It also wants Republic First to use an abundance of deposits to make more commercial loans in New York and Philadelphia.
The Norcross-Braca group, which owns at least 9.6% of Republic First’s stock, recently disclosed in a regulatory filing that they intend to support Driver’s nominees. They also plan to oppose the company’s nominees, including Hill.
Republic First’s board responded to the shareholder challenges by hiring Keefe, Bruyette & Woods to advise it on any shareholder proposals and to respond directly to investors.
The board “continues to review the filings … carefully and objectively,” the directors said, adding that they remain “open to any and all proposals to maximize shareholder value.”
Madonna was Republic First’s CEO from 2001 to February 2021. He was its chairman from 1988 to 2016.