Can This Thrift's Rifts Be Mended?

The showdown came at a board meeting on Nov. 23, 1993. Tired of a deadlocked board that had stymied his plans to sell Sovereign Bancorp Inc., Frederick J. Jaindl, the thrift's chairman and biggest shareholder, summoned directors to a surprise session. His grandfatherly demeanor gone, he whipped out resolutions to add a tie-breaking ninth director and hire an investment banker to arrange a deal. When the motions stalled, Jaindl stunned his colleagues by ruling that a "no" vote cast by his chief opponent on the merger issue, CEO Jay S. Sidhu, 43, was somehow invalid because he was an employee.

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