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Biglari Holdings Sends Letter To Cracker Barrel's Board On Discovery Of Discrepancy In Professed Experience Of Designated Chairman James Bradford

Stocks in this article: BH CBRL

SAN ANTONIO, TX, Oct. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Biglari Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BH) today sent the following letter to the Board of Directors of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) regarding public filings and statements made by Cracker Barrel, including Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran, that highlight designated Chairman James W. Bradford's former experience as CEO of a New York Stock Exchange-listed company: 

October 8, 2012

Board of DirectorsCracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.305 Hartmann Drive Lebanon, Tennessee 37087

Dear Board of Directors:

Cracker Barrel's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the Company's 2012 annual shareholders' meeting contains the following statement regarding the qualifications of James W. Bradford, Cracker Barrel's designated Chairman of the Board:  "An experienced corporate executive, Mr. Bradford previously served ... from 1992 to 1999 as President and Chief Executive Officer of AFG Industries Inc., which during his tenure was North America's largest vertically integrated glass manufacturing and fabrication company and was traded on the New York Stock Exchange (the 'NYSE')."

This assertion was repeated to investors at the Wells Fargo Retail & Restaurants Conference on October 2, 2012 by Cracker Barrel's Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Cochran, who stated that " Jim Bradford, who was the former CEO of [a] New York Stock Exchange company, and he's now the Dean of the Business School at Vanderbilt...."

Then on October 4, 2012, Ms. Cochran wrote a letter to shareholders highlighting the changes to the Board by stressing the experience of the incoming Chairman: "[ Michael Woodhouse] will be succeeded by Jim Bradford, a former NYSE company CEO...."

As the largest shareholder of the Company, owning approximately 17.3% of the outstanding shares, we felt it was important for us to understand Mr. Bradford's performance as a purportedly former CEO of a public company, in view of his recent appointment as the incoming Chairman of the Board, as well as Ms. Cochran's statements underlining his position as "a former NYSE company CEO." However, a public search reveals that Mr. Bradford has never been CEO of a New York Stock Exchange company. In fact, we found that AFG Industries in 1988 was taken private, four years before Mr. Bradford was appointed CEO. 

The Company has claimed that Mr. Bradford was CEO of a NYSE company by way of SEC disclosures and statements from Ms. Cochran. The question for shareholders is whether Mr. Bradford was indeed CEO of a NYSE-listed company. If the answer is negative, then misrepresentations have been made in SEC filings, investor presentations, and a letter to shareholders. If Mr. Bradford has embellished his professional record, we believe this undermines his credibility. Therefore, the Board must determine whether Mr. Bradford should continue in his present capacity. After all, it is Mr. Bradford's, Ms. Cochran's and the full Board's responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the Company's public filings and statements. A Board must exercise diligence and care; such a material inaccuracy would be a failure on the part of the Board of Directors, especially the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, reflecting poorly on the entire Board's governance process.

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