My friends at activist fund Relational Investors here in San Diego are taking on a very big fish indeed: Bob Nardelli of Home Depot. They have announced a significant position in the firm’s stock, and are agitating for overdue changes in strategy, governance, operations, and so on.
The Relational people — with Ralph Whitworth as principal — are very smart folks, having delivered great returns on this strategy in a number of cases, including National Semiconductor a few years back. Further, Home Depot can use the kick in the behind, with Nardelli & Co. having become complacent in recent years, so shareholders can look forward to some real pressure for positive change.
That is why I’m perfectly willing to forgive a slip-up here and there in their spelling prowess, like in the following clip from Whitworth’s letter to Home Depot’s Nardelli last week: