Friedman’s adds new board members, replaces chairman

Friedman’s Inc., Savannah, named two new directors to its board and replaced its chairman.

The new board members are Norman Deep and Sheldon Whitehouse, both attorneys. Allan M. Edwards was named as the new chairman of the board of directors, replacing Robert W. Cruickshank. Cruickshank resigned as a board member, effective immediately.

The board of directors is set at eight members, with six seats filled by Peggy J. Brockschmidt, Thaddeus S. Jaroszewicz, David B. Parshall, Edwards, Deep and Whitehouse.

Friedman’s Board of Directors has also taken the following actions:

* Amended the audit and compensation committee charters so that the board of directors may directly appoint members of the audit and compensation committees without being required to first obtain the recommendations of the nominating/corporate governance committee;

* Changed the membership of its audit, nominating/corporate governance and compensation committees to consist of Parshall, Deep, and Whitehouse and designated Whitehouse as the chairman of the audit committee.

* Created a special litigation committee consisting of Deep, Parshall, and Whitehouse. The authority of the special litigation committee includes overseeing and coordinating the company’s response to investigations being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as any other legal inquiries; and

* Voted, subject to certain conditions, to retain Kroll Zolfo Cooper LLC as restructuring advisors to Friedman’s and to appoint representatives of Kroll Zolfo Cooper LLC as chief restructuring officers.

New board members. Deep has a private law practice in the State of New York and is Judge Advocate Lieutenant Colonel (Chief JAG Officer) of the New York Guard Air Division. He specializes litigation, including civil, criminal, contract, and corporation law. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Syracuse University and his J.D. from the Syracuse University School of Law.

Whitehouse is a partner in the Providence, R.I., law firm of Edwards & Angell, LLP, where he specializes in the areas of civil, regulatory and appellate litigation, problem-solving and reform in government and businesses for Fortune 1000 companies. He is a former Attorney General of the State of Rhode Island and United States District Attorney for Rhode Island. He received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School. The firm of Edwards & Angell, LLP has no relation to Friedman’s Chairman Allan M. Edwards.

Friedman’s Inc. operates fine jewelry stores located in power strip centers. The company operates 711 stores in 20 states, of which 224 were located in power strip centers and 487 were located in regional malls.