By: Margie Brown, CIRI president and CEO
Dear Fellow Shareholders:
More than seven years ago I wrote my first message to you. A month earlier, I had been selected by CIRI’s Board of Directors to serve as the Company’s next President and CEO. In my message, I described my plan for my first 100 days on the job: first, absorb the condition of the Company; second, familiarize myself with the talented pool of employees I would supervise; and third, chart a course forward. At that time, internal political strife had taken a toll on the Company. But CIRI’s underpinnings were strong, its mission clear. And although I was not selected from the then-current ranks of CIRI’s employees, I had deep knowledge of the Company. As you may recall, I previously managed the Company’s land and resources division for nearly 20 years. In many respects, I grew up with the Company, having started my employment as a young woman nearly fresh out of college.
Within those first 100 days, it became evident that three things needed attention. We needed to devise and implement a plan to exit our investments in Lake Las Vegas. We needed to reach a settlement with the IRS over the Company’s resource valuations and in the process be able to eliminate the note of materiality in our financial reports. And we needed to refresh our view of the businesses we owned and business segments that we should be targeting for acquisition.
We accomplished the first two goals within the first two years. With those issues behind us, we turned our attention beyond problem solving to strategic planning. How exciting it was to do this, to imagine again what CIRI could become, how we could make investments that would allow the Company to grow. Our most recent investments in energy development, real estate, environmental services, construction services and marine services have added to our long-standing investments in tourism and oilfield services and will provide benefits to CIRI shareholders for years to come.
I made several commitments to the CIRI Board in late 2004. First, I promised to give the Board at least five years of service in the position. It was viewed, rightly so, that it would take time to accomplish what we thought needed to be done. Second, I promised fairness in my dealings with them, as individuals and as the governing body of CIRI, a promise that I have strived to achieve throughout my tenure. Third, I made a commitment to build a strong, vibrant executive team — a deep bench to use a sports analogy — that would provide a measure of comfort and would allow for a smooth transition in future succession events.
The five years of my original commitment sped by remarkably quickly. I have been fortunate to have been granted two extensions beyond my first contract term. I have enjoyed my work beyond measure, working for CIRI shareholders and the CIRI Board and alongside my colleagues. Much has been accomplished toward the goals that I first identified seven years ago. CIRI is a well-functioning company with a talented work force. We have solved problems and made strategic investments. We have done this while adhering to our goal to provide a steady stream of dividends to CIRI shareholders while balancing their current needs with the needs of the Company and conserving resources for future growth so that dividends can be provided to current shareholders as well as future generations of CIRI shareholders. And in spite of the financial calamity that befell the nation and global economies a few short years ago, we emerged a stronger, more vibrant company.
It is then with a certain sense of accomplishment I announce to you, the CIRI shareholders, my intention to step aside as president and CEO early next year as I complete eight years in the position. I have been involved in leading this company in one position or another for more than 35 years, and it is from this perspective that I know it is time for new leadership to step to the helm of our great company.
My decision comes as no surprise to the CIRI Board of Directors, as I have been working with them since last fall on a recruitment and transition plan. In these discussions, I reminded the Board of my fourth promise to them upon my hiring, which was to work with them to provide for as smooth and seamless a transition as possible as they select my successor. The CIRI Board and I remain committed to see this admittedly delicate task accomplished in this way.
My commitment to CIRI is life-long, and I eagerly look forward to ways to continue to contribute to CIRI’s success. I will be eternally grateful for the support and respect that you, the CIRI shareholders, have shown me and for the guidance that I have received from the CIRI Board. While my decision to step aside has a lot to do with the nature of corporate governance and the Company’s natural progression, it is deeply personal as well. I am often asked what about my job I enjoy the most. It is my association with my fellow employees, without whose support achieving any measure of success would not be possible. I will miss my daily interaction with them.
I will be working hard throughout the rest of my term on business as usual. We have accomplished so much already in this last year of my service, but we have so much more to do: a wind farm to build, new investments to make, new businesses to incorporate into the CIRI family of companies and plenty of work within our existing lines of business.
In the past I have assured you that CIRI’s best days lie ahead. I remain confident that this is the case now.
With deep respect and gratitude,