Thursday, January 29, 2009

Investor nominates 4 to board at Gaylord

Gaylord Entertainment Co.'s biggest shareholder nominated two hotel executives and an oil industry dealmaker to the company's board of directors, the latest move in a proposed shakeup of management.

Oil and hotel investor Robert Rowling, chairman of the investment firm TRT Holdings Inc., named himself and three others with Texas roots to a slate that is meant to force leadership and operational changes at Gaylord, the Nashville-based convention hotel chain.

"We believe that our director nominees are well qualified, highly experienced and have the judgment necessary to improve Gaylord's financial and operational performance," Rowling said in a statement.

A Gaylord spokesman said the company had received the list of nominees and would review whether they meet the requirements of the company's bylaws.

Nominees based in Texas

Apart from Rowling, the nominees are all independent of TRT, which owns just under 15 percent of Gaylord, as well as Omni Hotels, Gold's Gym International, oil company Tana Exploration and Mexican retailer Waldo's Dollar Mart.

None but Rowling holds stock in Gaylord, the firm said in a statement and in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

All have backgrounds that would put them within Rowling's circle of associates:

>> David Johnson is the president and chief executive of Aimbridge Hospitality, a hotel company with headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton. TRT is based in nearby Irving.

>> Mark Langdale is a former Dallas real estate investor and hotel executive who runs the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Rowling was an early and ardent supporter of Bush.

>> Michael Dickman is a former Morgan Stanley executive who specialized in advising oil mergers. Rowling's fortune, estimated at more than $6 billion, began in the Texas oil patch.

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