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Labor Nominee Says He Will Divest Portfolio And Forfeit Unvested Shares

Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, exits after his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., last year.
Drew Angerer
Getty Images
Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, exits after his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., last year.

Andrew Puzder, President Trump's nominee for secretary of labor, has agreed to divest his holdings in CKE Restaurants — the fast-food giant of which he is CEO — forfeit unvested compensation and liquidate his extensive investment portfolio if he is confirmed.

CKE Restaurants is the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast-food restaurants.

The details of his divestiture were in Puzder's financial disclosure report, which was obtained by NPR News.

The report was submitted to the Office of Government Ethics and forwarded to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will consider Puzder's nomination.

Puzder said his interest in the company, valued at $10 million to $50 million in the disclosure report, will be exchanged for CKE stock "based on an internal valuation of the company." CKE will then purchase the stock from Puzder.

Puzder says he will forfeit his unvested holdings in CKE, valued at $1 million to $5 million dollars in the report, upon assuming the position of secretary. The unvested holdings represented deferred compensation Puzder would receive if he continued working at the company.

Government financial disclosure forms report holdings in a range rather than exact valuations.

Puzder also said he will divest his extensive investment portfolio, made up of more than 200 equities, investment funds, real estate properties and other financial instruments. He said he will do so within 180 days of his confirmation. Equities will be sold quickly, but other holdings Puzder described as illiquid and will take longer to unload.

Among those illiquid assets are four investment funds managed by Solamere Capital, a private equity firm founded by Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. In 2013, the Boston Globe reported that the elder Romney had assumed a major role in his son's firm.

The nominee's confirmation hearing has been postponed several times as Puzder worked to satisfy concerns of the Office of Government Ethics. Unwinding Puzder's holdings in CKE has proved to be complex.

A spokesperson for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee says Puzder's hearing has been scheduled for February 16.

Puzder's portfolio is widely diversified. Among his larger holdings are California state and municipal bonds, and extensive investment in the energy sector.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Katkov

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