Well, that got awkward. Arcturus fires back at ex-CEO Joe Payne

The battle royal between Arcturus and its former CEO continues, with Friday bringing a fresh statement to the melodrama. This time, Arcturus is firing back.

Over the last couple of weeks, the feistiest of the two parties was Joseph Payne, the former chief executive who was fired from the company for allegedly putting his own self interests before the company’s.

Payne had his attorney draft a letter in response to his ouster, alleging the board had conspired against him. In particular, the letter said Payne had been pushed out by a cabal of four company directors, who he says engaged in an intrigue that violated the rules established by the Israeli laws that govern its operations.

Arcturus used a reverse merger to back its way onto the market last September, joining forces with Israel-based Alcobra. The merger is being blamed for the sudden power shift as the root of “the poor corporate governance demonstrated in recent months,” Payne’s letter noted.

Payne followed that letter with demands for the company to hold an extraordinary general meeting to vote on an ouster of his own design. In the statement, he calls for the boot to the four company directors who he says conspired against him — Stuart Collinson, Craig Willett, Daniel Geffken, and David Shapiro. He suggested four new directors take their place: Magda Marquet, Peter Farrell, Andrew Sassine, and James Barlow.

Now, Arcturus is taking its own shot with a statement this morning:

Our unanimous action to fire Joe was prompted by repeated instances of what the Board considered to be poor judgement on Joe’s part, including with regard to mismanagement of relationships with our collaboration partners. Given Joe’s actions, we are confident that we made the right decision. We believe Joe’s decision to advance four nominees outside of the Company’s nominating process is another example of him putting his own self-interests ahead of the needs of Arcturus and our shareholders.

Of course, that being said, the company is complying with his request.

Consistent with its commitment to best-in-class corporate governance practices, the Arcturus Board has initiated a process to meet with the proposed nominees and will consider the nominations in keeping with this commitment.

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