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Takeaway: Major step by DLTR in getting a change-agent on the Board. This guy is great at getting assets sold.

Dollar Tree made a major step today toward actually changing things up at the company. It announced the appointment of Thomas “Tad” Dickson as an independent director effective Jan. 1. His appointment fills the vacancy of the previously announced retirement of director Mary Anne Citrino. This is big. Not clear if put in place voluntarily by DLTR or if by the recommendation of Activists who are beginning to exert influence.

Simply put… Dickson is a Board journeyman, and his presence almost always has resulted in major strategic action – usually an outright sale of the company.

  • Dickson led Harris Teeter until it was sold to KR.
  • At CST he was brought on by Engine Capital and JCP. Sold later that year.
  • At the Pantry he was Chairman chosen by JCP – ultimately was sold.
  • He joined CAG within a year of Jana taking a stake.
  • Also one of Jana’s nominees at WFM which was quickly sold. And Jana just got into DLTR.

Based on everything we have heard and seen -- Icahn is in there. The question is whether he pursues an activist campaign. Maybe he is now communicating with the company and that is where Tad comes in -- or maybe that was from Jana. These funds probably did not have detailed discussions with management during the quiet period. So if anything this is a “smoke” for an activist fire. 

Could be sign that Board is open to selling Family Dollar, or the whole thing.

I am stunned that this stock is still parked at $85. No other opportunities like this in public markets for value creation in consumer discretionary.