New Relic Revamps Board

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Though Paul Singer’s Elliott Management recently sold its position in the San Francisco tech company, the activist firm has overlapping history with one of the new board members.

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New Relic Inc. (NEWR), which develops software to monitor application performance for corporations and other large organizations, has revamped its board, appointing a new chairman and two new directors.

Though Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. recently sold its position in the San Francisco tech company, the activist firm has overlapping history with one of the new board members.

New Relic said Thursday, Aug. 20, that current director Hope Cochran is replacing Peter Fenton as chairman and that the company is adding executive Anne DelSanto and Citrix Systems Inc. (CXTS) CEO David Henshall to its board.

Shares of New Relic were down 1.4% at $57.10 on Monday, Aug. 24, putting its market capitalization at $3.4 billion. Shares gained nearly 6% on Aug. 20 following the board changes. Elliott and Barry Rosenstein‘s Jana Partners LLC disclosed positions of 1.4 % and 0.4 %, respectively, in first-quarter Form 13F filings. However, both firms sold the stakes.

The Deal named New Relic an M&A candidate last August following Splunk Inc.‘s (SPLK) pricey acquisition of SignalFx Inc. Further, The Deal noted the potential for activism in August 2020 after the company provided lackluster guidance amid concerns about a turnaround.

Freshly appointed New Relic director Henshall and Elliott have crossed paths. Henshall became CEO of remote workplace software developer Citrix in July 2017, during a management shakeup after Elliott gained a board seat at the enterprise software company.

According to relationship mapping service BoardEx, a sister company of The Deal, Elliott Management’s head of U.S. activism Jesse Cohn, overlapped with Henshall on the Citrix board between 2017 and 2020. Cohn also served on Citrix’s board between 2015 and 2017, when Henshall served in various senior roles at Citrix.

In addition, according to BoardEx, Cohn and Henshall overlapped on the board of LogMeIn between 2017 and 2018.

New Relic signaled that changes were coming on June 24, when the company said Benchmark Capital general partner Fenton would not stand for re-election at the 2020 annual meeting. Incoming chair Cochran has been on the company’s board since May 2018.

Cochran is a managing director at Madrona Venture Group and has held top positions at high-profile acquisition targets. She was chief financial officer at King Digital Entertainment plc during its $5.9 billion sale to Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) in 2016, and at Clearwire Corp. when it sold to the former Sprint Corp. in 2013 in a $3.9 billion deal.

Meanwhile, board addition DelSanto is a limited partner at venture firms Operator Collective and Stage 2 Capital. She is also a veteran of Inc. (CRM), Oracle Corp. (OCL) and IBM Corp. (IBM).

Ron Orol contributed to this report

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