By  on April 2, 2008

Dillard's Inc. said Tuesday that it reached an agreement with activist shareholder groups in an effort to avoid a proxy battle at its annual meeting next month.

A settlement with Barington Capital Group LP and Clinton Group Inc. involves the retailer nominating four candidates as Class A directors at its annual meeting on May 17. Barington and Clinton agreed to end efforts to elect a slate of four nominees to Dillard's board.

The appointed directors will be James A. Haslam 3rd, chief executive of Pilot Travel Centers LLC; R. Brad Martin, former chairman and ceo of Saks Inc; Fran R. Mori, co-ceo and president of Takihyo Inc., former president and ceo of Anne Klein Inc. and former ceo and founding partner of Donna Karan International, and Nick White, president and ceo of White & Associates and former executive vice president and general manager of the Supercenter division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

White is the only one of the four who was on Barington and Clinton's list of nominated directors. The two funds last month had pressed Dillard's for extensive information about the retailer and its executives, including their compensation and perks such as the use of private planes.

"Both the board and management welcome the perspectives and insights of our proposed new directors," William Dillard 2nd, chairman and ceo, said. "The Class A board members are committed to working with the new Class A board members to ensure that the best operating plan and management team possible are in place."

The company also said it is committed to closing underperforming stores and rationalizing real estate in an effort to cut costs.

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