Hoffman said he was speaking from experience: "Much of my work, including presently as CEO of The Advisory Counsel LLC, has been dedicated to providing counsel to companies like TEGNA and to advising boards and corporate leaders on major societal issues, he said. "As such, I believe your process failed to meet the basic best practices standard."
Mr. Hoffman said he may have conflicts of interest, since he serves as a strategic adviser to numerous companies, some of which are Tegna’s direct competitors or key business partners, according to his statement, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Hoffman, who is Black, also said in the statement that he was disturbed by an interaction in 2014 with Tegna CEO Dave Lougee. The men were seated at the same table at an industry event and spoke over lunch; afterward, Mr. Lougee mistook Mr. Hoffman for a valet, deeply offending Mr. Hoffman. At the time of the incident, Mr. Lougee was president of Gannett Co.’s broadcasting unit, which was later renamed Tegna. “I have serious concerns whether Lougee and I could function as colleagues at Tegna or afford each other the level of professional comity and respect required of a well-functioning board,” Mr. Hoffman said in the statement that went to Tegna’s board.