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Navistar names new board member from Icahn

Updated: January 14, 2013 7:21AM

Lisle-based Navistar International said it named to its board a new member who was agreed to by activist shareholders, abiding by the terms of a deal reached earlier this year that enabled Navistar to avoid a proxy fight.

Navistar said it named Samuel J. Merksamer, managing director at Icahn Capital LP, to replace Diane Gulyas, who retired after serving three years on the board.

The appointment was effective Monday, Navistar said.

Merksamer represents the third board member appointed pursuant to the agreement the company entered into with Icahn Partners and its affiliated entities and MHR Fund Management LLC and its affiliated entities in October.

Merksamer will stand for election at the company’s 2013 annual meeting.

Merksamer has served as managing director at Icahn Capital since 2008. He is responsible for identifying, analyzing and monitoring investment opportunities and portfolio companies for Icahn Capital, Navistar said.

Navistar’s shares have plunged 44 percent this year. In August, the company announced the abrupt retirement of its top executive, Daniel Ustian, and named Lewis Campbell its chairman and interim CEO.

That move came after the company said it would buy 15-liter engines for its largest commercial trucks from competitor Cummins and was abandoning a lengthy and costly strategy, pursued under Ustian’s leadership, of trying to develop its own EGR emissions technology, a strategy that included paying fines to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for having noncompliant engines. Navistar had invested $700 million in the failed effort and lost market share because of it. The company now has decided to use the same exhaust treatment process as its competitors, called SCR, and is retrofitting its 13-liter and 11-liter engines.

Navistar lost $241 million the first nine months of this fiscal year, down from a profit of $1.47 billion in the same period a year ago.

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