New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, is urging shareholders to oppose the re-election of Massey Energy President Baxter F. Phillips Jr. and directors Richard M. Gabrys and Dan R. Moore.
In a letter sent to investors, Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller and sole trustee of the $129.4 billion fund, also seeks support for its proposal calling for declassifying the Massey board and requiring instead an annual election of directors.
The letter was sent to major institutional investors, said Olayinka Fadahunsi, fund spokesman. He couldn't say how many were sent.
The directors are members of the board's safety, environmental and public policy committee. The three are the only ones on Massey's nine-member board up for election this year.
“Directors Phillips, Gabrys and Moore have neglected their responsibilities to oversee risk and have failed to protect our investments,” Mr. DiNapoli said in a statement about the three-page letter he sent. “There's no excuse for the lack of accountability at Massey. The solution is clear: They have to go.”
The New York State Common Retirement Fund holds 303,550 shares of Massey stock, worth about $14.1 million, according to Mr. Fadahunsi.
The fund hasn't contacted Massey officials about the director opposition campaign and hasn't heard from them, Mr. Fadahunsi said.
Massey's annual meeting is May 18.
An April 5 explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine near Montcoal, W.Va., killed 29 miners, the highest death toll in a U.S. mining accident in 26 years. The cause hasn't been determined.
Mr. DiNapoli on April 12 called for Don Blankenship, Massey chairman and CEO, to resign from the board, citing mine safety concerns. His term as director expires next year.