FREE Breaking News Alerts from StreetInsider.com!
StreetInsider.com Top Tickers, 10/3/2022
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
PURSUANT TO SECTION 14(A)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934, AS AMENDED
Information Statement Pursuant to Section 14(c) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Check the appropriate box:
AMERICAN BATTERY TECHNOLOGY COMPANY
(Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
Payment of Filing Fee (Check the Appropriate Box):
100 Washington Street, Suite 100
Reno, NV 89503
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS
To Be Held On October 27, 2022
October 3, 2022
Dear Fellow Shareholder:
The 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the “2022 Annual Meeting” or “Meeting”) of American Battery Technology Company (the “Company, “we”, or “us”) will be held at 12:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time on Thursday, October 27, 2022. We have adopted a completely virtual format for our Meeting to provide a healthy, consistent, and convenient experience to all stockholders regardless of location. You may attend, vote, and submit questions during the Meeting online at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/abml2022.
You may also attend the Meeting by proxy, and may submit questions ahead of the Meeting through the designated website. For further information about the Meeting, please see the Questions and Answers about the Meeting beginning on page 2 of the accompanying proxy statement (the “Proxy Statement”). The purpose of the Meeting is as follows:
(1) To elect five directors to hold office until the next annual meeting of stockholders or until their respective successors are duly elected and qualified, subject to earlier death, resignation, or removal;
(2) To ratify the appointment of Marcum, LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2023; and
(3) To ratify the Company’s Amended and Restated Bylaws.
All shares represented by Proxies will be voted at the 2022 Annual Meeting in accordance with the specifications marked thereon, or if no specifications are made, the Proxy confers authority to vote “FOR” for each of the forgoing proposals.
The Company’s Board of Directors believes that a favorable vote for each nominee for a position on the Board of Directors and for all other matters described in the attached Proxy Statement is in the best interest of the Company and its shareholders and recommends a vote “FOR” each of the forgoing proposals.
Your vote is important no matter how large or small your holdings in the Company may be. If you do not expect to be present at the Meeting virtually, you are urged to promptly complete, date, sign, and return the proxy card. Please review the instructions on your voting options described in the enclosed Proxy Statement as well as in the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials you received in the mail. This will not limit your right to virtually attend or vote at the Meeting. You may revoke your proxy at any time before it has been voted at the Meeting.
Thank you for your investment and continued interest in American Battery Technology Company.
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING THE AVAILABILITY OF PROXY MATERIALS FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS TO BE HELD ON OCTOBER 27, 2022
The notice of annual meeting, the proxy statement and our 2022 Annual https://investors.americanbatterytechnology.com/. Additionally, in accordance with the proxy materials at www.proxyvote.com.
Report on Form 10-K are available on our website at Securities and Exchange Commission rules, you may access our
I M P O R T A N T
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO ATTEND THE MEETING VIRTUALLY. WHETHER OR NOT YOU EXPECT TO ATTEND THE MEETING, PLEASE COMPLETE, DATE, SIGN, AND RETURN THE PROXY CARD AS PROMPTLY AS POSSIBLE IN ORDER TO ENSURE YOUR REPRESENTATION AT THE MEETING. PLEASE REVIEW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON YOUR VOTING OPTIONS DESCRIBED IN THE ENCLOSED PROXY STATEMENT AS WELL AS IN THE NOTICE OF INTERNET AVAILABILITY OF PROXY MATERIALS YOU RECEIVED IN THE MAIL. EVEN IF YOU HAVE VOTED BY PROXY, YOU MAY STILL VOTE IF YOU ATTEND THE MEETING. PLEASE NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT IF YOUR SHARES ARE HELD OF RECORD BY A BROKER, BANK, OR OTHER NOMINEE AND YOU WISH TO VOTE AT THE MEETING, YOU MUST OBTAIN A PROXY CARD ISSUED IN YOUR NAME FROM THAT INTERMEDIARY. AT LEAST THIRTY-THREE AND ONE-THIRD PERCENT (33 1/3%) OF THE VOTING POWER OF THE COMPANY’S OUTSTANDING SHARES OF CAPITAL STOCK MUST BE REPRESENTED AT THE MEETING, EITHER VIRTUALLY OR BY PROXY, TO CONSTITUTE A QUORUM
2022 ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
This proxy statement (the “Proxy Statement”) is furnished in connection with the solicitation of proxies by the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of American Battery Technology Company (the “Company”, “we” or “us”) for use at the annual meeting of stockholders (the “Meeting” or the “2022 Annual Meeting”) of the Company, to be held on October 27, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. You may attend, vote, and submit questions during the Meeting via the Internet at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/abml2022. You may also attend the Meeting by proxy, and may submit questions ahead of the Meeting through the designated website. For further information about the Meeting, please see the Questions and Answers about the Meeting beginning on page 2 of this Proxy Statement. This Proxy Statement and the enclosed proxy card will be made available to our stockholders on or about October 6, 2022.
Only stockholders of record at the close of business on September 13, 2022 (the “Record Date”), are entitled to notice of, and to vote at, the Meeting. At the close of business on the Record Date, 644,138,631 shares of the Company’s common stock, par value $0.001 per share (“Common Stock”), were issued and outstanding. At the close of business on the Record Date, the Common Stock were held by approximately 124 individual participants in securities positions listings of our capital stock, respectively. One such holder is Cede & Co., a nominee for Depository Trust Company, or DTC. Shares of common stock that are held by financial institutions as nominees for beneficial owners are deposited into participant accounts at DTC and are considered to be held of record by Cede & Co. as one stockholder. Shares cannot be voted at the Meeting unless the holder thereof as of the Record Date is present or represented by proxy. The presence, virtually or by proxy, of the holders of at least 33 1/3 percent of the Company’s outstanding shares of capital stock as of the Record Date will constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at the Meeting and any adjournment or postponement thereof.
Our Board has selected Andrés Meza, our Chief Operating Officer and Board Secretary, to serve as the holder of proxies for the Meeting. The shares of capital stock represented by each executed and returned proxy will be voted by Mr. Meza in accordance with the directions indicated on the proxy card. If you sign your proxy card without giving specific instructions, Mr. Meza will vote your shares “FOR” the proposals being presented at the Meeting. The proxy also confers discretionary authority to vote the shares authorized to be voted thereby on any matter that may be properly presented for action at the Meeting; we currently know of no other business to be presented at the Meeting.
Any proxy given may be revoked by the person giving it at any time before it is voted at the Meeting. If you have not voted through your broker, there are three ways for you to revoke your proxy and change your vote. First, you may send a written notice to the Company’s Secretary stating that you would like to revoke your proxy. Second, you may complete and submit a new proxy card, but it must bear a later date than the original proxy card. Third, you may vote virtually at the Meeting. However, your attendance at the Meeting will not, by itself, revoke your proxy. If you have instructed a broker to vote your shares, you must follow the directions you receive from your broker to change your vote. Your last submitted proxy will be the proxy that is counted. Please note that dissenters’ rights are not available with respect to any of the proposals to be voted on at the Meeting.
We pay the cost of soliciting the proxies. We will provide copies of this Proxy Statement and accompanying materials to brokerage firms, fiduciaries, and custodians for forwarding to beneficial owners and will, upon request, reimburse these persons for their costs of forwarding these materials. Our directors, officers, and employees may solicit proxies by telephone, facsimile, or personal solicitation. We will not pay additional compensation for any of these services.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING THIS SOLICITATION AND VOTING AT THE MEETING
Q. When is the Meeting?
A. October 27, 2022, at 12:00 PM. Pacific Daylight Time.
Q. Where will the Meeting be held?
A. You may attend the Meeting via the Internet at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/abml2022. If you plan to attend virtually, we recommend that you log in to the Meeting fifteen minutes before the scheduled meeting time on October 27, 2022, to ensure you are logged in when the Meeting starts.
Q. Will there be a Q&A session during the Meeting?
A. As part of the Meeting, we will hold a live Q&A session, during which we intend to answer questions submitted online during or prior to the Meeting that are pertinent to the Company and the Meeting matters, as time permits. Only stockholders that have accessed the Meeting as a stockholder will be permitted to submit questions during the Meeting. If you have questions, you may type them into the dialog box provided at any point during the meeting (until the floor is closed to questions). Each stockholder is limited to no more than two questions. Questions should be succinct and only cover a single topic. We will not address questions that are, among other things:
Q. Why am I receiving these Proxy Materials?
A. As permitted by rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), we are making this Proxy Statement and our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022 (the “Annual Report”) available to our stockholders electronically via the Internet. The Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials containing instructions on how to access this Proxy Statement and our Annual Report and vote via the Internet, by phone, or by mail is first being mailed to all stockholders of record entitled to vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting on or about October 6, 2022. If you received a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials by mail, you will not receive a printed copy of the Proxy Materials, unless specifically requested. If you received a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials by mail and would like to receive a printed copy of the Proxy Materials, you should follow the instructions for requesting such materials included in the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials. We sent you the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials because the Board is soliciting your proxy to vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting. You are invited to virtually attend the 2022 Annual Meeting to vote on the proposals described in this Proxy Statement. However, you do not need to attend the Meeting to vote your shares. Instead, you may follow the instructions on the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials to vote by Internet, by phone or by mail.
Q. Who is entitled to vote at the Meeting?
A. Only stockholders who owned shares of our common stock at the close of business on the Record Date are entitled to notice of the Meeting and to vote at the Meeting, and at any postponements or adjournments thereof. At the close of business on the Record Date, 644,138,631 shares of the Company’s Common Stock were issued and outstanding. At the close of business on the Record Date, the Common Stock were held by approximately 124 individual participants in securities positions listings of our capital stock, respectively. One such holder is Cede & Co., a nominee for Depository Trust Company, or DTC. Shares of common stock that are held by financial institutions as nominees for beneficial owners are deposited into participant accounts at DTC and are considered to be held of record by Cede & Co. as one stockholder. For each share of Common Stock held as of the Record Date, the holder is entitled to one vote on each proposal to be voted on. As such, holders of Common Stock are entitled to a total of 644,138,631 votes.
Q. How many shares must be present to conduct business?
A. The presence at the Meeting, virtually or by proxy, of the holders of at least 33 1/3 percent of the Company’s outstanding shares of capital stock as of the close of business on the Record Date will constitute a quorum. A quorum is required to conduct business at the Meeting and any adjournment or postponement thereof.
Q. What will be voted on at the Meeting?
A. The following chart sets forth the proposals scheduled for a vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting and the vote required for such proposals to be approved.
Proposal 1: To elect five directors to hold office until the next annual meeting of stockholders or until their successors are duly elected and qualified, subject to prior death, resignation, or removal.
The plurality of the votes cast. This means that the nominees receiving the highest number of affirmative (“FOR”) votes (among votes properly cast virtually or by proxy) will be elected as directors.
Only votes “FOR” will affect the outcome. Withheld votes or broker non-votes will not affect the outcome of the vote on this proposal.
“FOR ALL”; or “WITHHOLD ALL”; or “FOR ALL EXCEPT”
Proposal 2: To ratify the appointment of Marcum LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023.
The affirmative (“FOR”) vote of a majority of the votes cast by the stockholders entitled to vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting.
Abstentions will not be counted for voting purposes, and thus, will not affect the outcome of the vote on this proposal. If you sign your proxy card with no further instructions and you are a shareholder of record, then your shares will be voted in accordance with the recommendations of our Board. Broker discretionary voting is allowed for Proposal 2.
The affirmative (“FOR”) vote of a majority of the votes cast by the stockholders entitled to vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting.
Abstentions will not be counted for voting purposes, and thus, will not affect the outcome of the vote on this proposal. If you sign your proxy card with no further instructions and you are a shareholder of record, then your shares will be voted in accordance with the recommendations of our Board.
Q. What shares can I vote at the Meeting?
A. You may vote all shares owned by you as of the Record Date, including (i) shares held directly in your name as the stockholder of record, and (ii) shares held for you as the beneficial owner through a broker, trustee, or other nominee such as a bank.
Q. What is the difference between holding shares as a stockholder of record and as a beneficial owner?
A. Some of our stockholders may hold shares of our capital stock in their own name rather than through a broker or other nominee. As summarized below, there are some distinctions between shares held of record and those owned beneficially.
Stockholders of Record. If your shares are registered directly in your name with our transfer agent, Action Stock Transfer, you are considered to be, with respect to those shares, the stockholder of record, and the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials was sent directly to you. As the stockholder of record, you have the right to vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting and to vote by proxy. Whether or not you plan to attend the 2022 Annual Meeting, we urge you to vote by Internet, by phone or by mail to ensure your vote is counted. You may still attend the 2022 Annual Meeting and vote virtually if you have already voted by proxy.
Beneficial Owner. If your shares are held in a brokerage account or by another nominee, you are considered the beneficial owner of shares held in “street name,” and these Proxy Materials, together with a voting instruction card, are being forwarded to you from that organization. As the beneficial owner, you have the right to direct your broker, trustee, or nominee how to vote on your behalf and are also invited to attend the 2022 Annual Meeting. Please note that since a beneficial owner is not the stockholder of record, you may not vote these shares at the 2022 Annual Meeting unless you obtain a “legal proxy” from the broker, trustee, or nominee that holds your shares, giving you the right to vote the shares at the 2022 Annual Meeting. If this applies to you, your broker, trustee, or nominee will have enclosed or provided voting instructions for you to use in directing the broker, trustee, or nominee how to vote your shares.
Q. How can I vote my shares without attending the Meeting?
A. Whether you hold shares directly as the stockholder of record or beneficially in street name, you may direct how your shares are voted without attending the Meeting. If you are a stockholder of record, you may vote by proxy by Internet, by phone or by mail by following the instructions provided on the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials. To vote using the proxy card, you must request a paper copy of the Proxy Materials by following the instructions available on the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials and then simply complete, sign, and date the proxy card and return it promptly in the envelope provided. If you return your signed proxy card to us before the 2022 Annual Meeting, we will vote your shares as you direct. Stockholders who hold shares beneficially in street name may cause their shares to be voted by proxy in accordance with the instructions provided by their broker, trustee, or nominee, by using the proxy card provided by the broker, trustee, or nominee and mailing them in the envelope provided by such person.
Q. How can I vote my shares?
A. Stockholders who attend the virtual 2022 Annual Meeting should follow the instructions at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/abml2022 to vote or submit questions during the Meeting. Voting online during the Meeting will replace any previous votes. Record holders who received a copy of this Proxy Statement and accompanying proxy card in the mail can vote by filling out the proxy card, signing it, and returning it in the postage paid return envelope. Record holders can also vote by telephone at 1-800-690-6903 or by Internet at www.proxyvote.com. Voting instructions are provided on the proxy card. If you hold shares in street name, you must vote by giving instructions to your bank, broker, or other nominee. You should follow the voting instructions on the form that you receive from your bank, broker, or other nominee.
Q. How do I gain admission to the virtual 2022 Annual Meeting?
A. You are entitled to participate in the virtual 2022 Annual Meeting only if you were a stockholder of record who owned shares of the Company’s capital stock (Common Stock and/or Preferred Stock) at the close of business on September 13, 2022, the Record Date. To attend online and participate in the 2022 Annual Meeting, stockholders of record will need to use the control number included on their Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials or proxy card to log into ww.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/abml2022. Beneficial owners who do not have a control number may gain access to the Meeting by logging into their brokerage firm’s website and selecting the stockholder communication mailbox to link through to the virtual 2022 Annual Meeting. Instructions should also be provided on the voting instruction card provided by their broker, bank, or other nominee.
We encourage you to access the Meeting prior to the start time. Please allow time for online check-in, which will begin at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
Stockholders have multiple opportunities to submit questions to the Company for the 2022 Annual Meeting. Stockholders who wish to submit a question in advance may do so in the question tab of the webcast online during the Meeting at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/abml2022. See “Will there be a Q&A session during the Meeting?” for information about how the Q&A session at the Meeting will be conducted.
Q. How are my shares voted?
A. If you provide specific instructions with regard to an item, your shares will be voted as you instruct on such item. If you sign your proxy card without giving specific instructions, your shares will be voted in accordance with the recommendations of the Board (“FOR” all nominees identified in Proposal 1, “FOR” Proposal 2, and “FOR” Proposal 3 in the discretion of the proxy holder on any other matters that properly come before the Meeting).
Q. What is a “broker non-vote”?
A. A broker non-vote occurs when a beneficial owner of shares held in street name does not give instructions to the broker or nominee holding the shares as to how to vote on matters deemed “non-routine.” Generally, if shares are held in street name, the beneficial owner of the shares is entitled to give voting instructions to the broker or nominee holding the shares. If the beneficial owner does not provide voting instructions, the broker or nominee can still vote the shares with respect to matters that are considered to be “routine,” but not with respect to “non-routine” matters. The shares that cannot be voted by brokers and other nominees on non-routine matters but are represented at the Meeting will be deemed present at our Meeting for purposes of determining whether the necessary quorum exists to proceed with the Meeting, but will not be considered entitled to vote on the nonroutine proposals.
We believe that under applicable rules, Proposal 2 is considered a routine matter for which brokerage firms may vote shares that are held in the name of brokerage firms and which are not voted by the applicable beneficial owners. Accordingly, we do not expect to receive any broker non-votes with respect to Proposal 2.
Brokers or other nominees cannot vote on Proposal 1 and Proposal 3 without instructions from beneficial owners. Only votes “FOR” will affect the outcome of the vote on Proposal 1 and Proposal 3. As such, broker non-votes will not affect the outcome of the vote on Proposal 1 and Proposal 3.
Q. How are abstentions counted?
A. If you return a proxy card that indicates an abstention from voting on all matters, the shares represented will be counted for the purpose of determining both the presence of a quorum and the total number of votes with respect to a proposal, but they will not be voted on any matter at the Meeting.
With regard to Proposal 1, votes may be cast in favor of a director nominee or withheld. Because directors are elected by plurality, abstentions will be entirely excluded from the vote and will have no effect on its outcome.
With regard to Proposal 2, because abstentions are not counted as votes cast, abstentions will have no effect on the outcome of such proposal.
With regard to Proposal 3, because abstentions are not counted as votes cast, abstentions will have no effect on the outcome of such proposal.
Q. Are dissenters’ rights available with respect to any of the proposals?
A. Dissenters’ rights are not available with respect to any of the proposals to be voted on at the Meeting.
Q. What should I do if I receive more than one Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials?
A. If you receive more than one Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials, your shares are registered in more than one name or are registered in different accounts. Please follow the instructions on each Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials to ensure that all of your shares are voted.
Q. Can I change my mind after I return my proxy?
A. Yes. You may change your vote at any time before your proxy is voted at the Meeting. If you are a stockholder of record, you can do this by giving written notice to the Company’s Secretary, by submitting another proxy with a later date, or by attending the Meeting and voting virtually. If you are a stockholder in “street” or “nominee” name, you should consult with the bank, broker, or other nominee regarding that entity’s procedures for revoking your voting instructions.
Q. Who is soliciting my vote and who is paying the costs?
A. We have engaged Okapi Partners LLC to assist in the solicitation of proxies and provide related advice and informational support, for a fee of $15,000 plus reimbursable expenses. In addition, we have agreed to indemnify Okapi Partners LLC and certain related persons against certain liabilities arising out of or in connection with their engagement.
Q. Is there a list of stockholders entitled to vote at the Meeting?
A. The names of stockholders entitled to vote at the Meeting will be available at the Meeting and for ten days prior to the Meeting for any purpose relevant to the Meeting, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time), at our principal executive offices at American Battery Technology Company, 100 Washington Street, Suite 100, Reno, Nevada 89503, by contacting our General Counsel. The list of these stockholders will also be available for examination by our stockholders during the Meeting and on the Meeting webpage for stockholders that have accessed the Meeting as a stockholder.
Q. How can I find out the results of the voting?
A. We intend to announce preliminary voting results at the Meeting and publish final results in a Current Report on Form 8-K within four business days following the Meeting.
Q. Whom should I contact if I have questions?
A. If you have any additional questions about the Meeting or the proposals presented in this Proxy Statement, you should contact our Investor Relations department at our principal executive office as follows:
ELECTION OF DIRECTORS
Nomination of Directors
The Nominations and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board (the “Nominating Committee”) is charged with making recommendations to the Board regarding qualified candidates to serve as members of the Board. The Nominating Committee’s goal is to assemble a board of directors with the skills and characteristics that, taken as a whole, will assure a strong board of directors with experience and expertise in all aspects of corporate governance. Accordingly, the Nominating Committee believes that candidates for director should have certain minimum qualifications, including personal integrity, strength of character, an inquiring and independent mind, practical wisdom, and mature judgment. In evaluating director nominees, the Nominating Committee considers the following factors:
(1) The appropriate size of the Board;
(2) The Company’s needs with respect to the particular talents and experience of its directors; and
(3) The knowledge, skills, and experience of nominees, including experience in technology, business, finance, administration, and/or public service.
Other than the foregoing, there are no stated minimum criteria for director nominees, although the Nominating Committee may also consider such other factors as it deems to be in the Company’s and its stockholders’ best interests, including the independence requirements for board and committee membership under The Nasdaq Capital Market (“Nasdaq”) listing standards (which the Company has applied to list under), diversity (though the Company does not have a formal policy with regard to the consideration of diversity in identifying director nominees), and the requirements for at least one member of the Board to meet the criteria for an “audit committee financial expert,” as defined by SEC rules. The Nominating Committee also believes it is appropriate for our Chief Executive Officer to serve on the Board.
The Nominating Committee identifies nominees by first evaluating the current members of the Board willing to continue in service. Current members of the Board with skills and experience that are relevant to our business and who are willing to continue in service are considered for re-nomination, but the Nominating Committee at all times seeks to balance the value of continuity of service by existing members of the Board with that of obtaining a new perspective. If any member of the Board does not wish to continue in service, the Nominating Committee’s policy is to not re-nominate that member for reelection. The Nominating Committee identifies the desired skills and experience of a new nominee, and then uses its network and external resources to solicit and compile a list of eligible candidates.
We do not have a formal policy concerning stockholder recommendations of nominees for director to the Nominating Committee. The absence of such a policy does not mean, however, that such recommendations will not be considered. Stockholders wishing to recommend a candidate may do so by sending a written notice to the Nominating Committee, Attn: Chairman, American Battery Technology Company, 100 Washington Street, Suite 100, Reno, Nevada 89503, naming the proposed candidate and providing detailed biographical and contact information for such proposed candidate.
There are no arrangements or understandings between any of our directors, nominees for directors, or officers, and any other person pursuant to which any director, nominee for director, or officer was or is to be selected as a director, nominee, or officer, as applicable. There currently are no legal proceedings, and during the past ten years there have been no legal proceedings, that are material to the evaluation of the ability or integrity of any of our directors or director nominees. There are no material proceedings to which any director, officer, affiliate, or owner of record or beneficially of more than 5% of any class of voting securities of the Company, or any associates of any such persons, is a party adverse to the Company or any of our subsidiaries, and none of such persons has a material interest adverse to the Company or any of its subsidiaries. Other than as disclosed below, during the last five years, none of our directors held any other directorships in any company with a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), or subject to the requirements of Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act or any company registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940. Our Nominating Committee currently consists of Elizabeth Lowery, Sherif Marakby, and Julie Blunden, with Ms. Lowery serving as the chairman.
The Nominating Committee has recommended, and the Board has nominated, Ryan Melsert, Elizabeth Lowery, Julie Blunden, Rick Fezell, and Sherif Marakby as nominees for election as members of our Board at the 2022 Annual Meeting for a period of one year or until each such director’s respective successor is elected and qualified or until such director’s earlier death, resignation, or removal. Each of the nominees is currently a director of the Company. At the 2022 Annual Meeting, five directors will be elected to the Board.
Information Regarding Directors
Ryan Melsert was appointed a Director of the Company in September 2020. He has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer since August 2021, overseeing all aspects of American Battery Technology Company’s battery metal extraction and lithium-ion battery recycling divisions, and as Chief Technology Officer since October 2019. Mr. Melsert was appointed as Chairman of the Board on February 27, 2022.
Mr. Melsert specializes in the development and scale-up of highly innovative first-of-kind systems. This development process consists of fundamental conceptual design, rigorous thermodynamic and process modeling, fabrication of bench-scale prototypes, construction and operation of integrated pilot systems, and implementation of commercial-scale systems. Since joining the Company in August 2019, Mr. Melsert has accelerated the advancement and implementation of the Company’s proprietary battery metal extraction technologies and battery recycling programs with the planning and construction of a multi-functional facility. Mr. Melsert was previously the CEO of M2 Thermal Solutions, which pioneered a first-of-kind residential air conditioning system exhibiting an improvement in energy efficiency over current systems and accepted as one of eight finalist designs in the Global Cooling Prize challenge. From May 2015 to March 2019, Mr. Melsert worked at Tesla as one of the founding members of the battery manufacturing Gigafactory design team, and subsequently as an R&D Manager for the Battery Materials Processing group. He founded and led this cross-functional team of mechanical and chemical engineers who implemented first principles design to develop novel first-of-kind systems for the extraction, purification, and synthesis of precursor and active battery materials. This development scope included the fundamental conceptual design, rigorous thermodynamic and process modeling, design and fabrication of bench-scale prototypes, construction and operation of integrated pilot systems, and implementation of commercial scale systems for the processing of battery materials. During this time Mr. Melsert was awarded five patents. From April 2013 to May 2015, Mr. Melsert served as R&D Manager, Advanced Energy & Transportation Technologies for Southern Research, leading a project team of 5-10 chemical/mechanical engineers in fundamental design of first-of-kind systems throughout energy systems field. While there, Mr. Melsert wrote and won several Department of Energy (DOE) grants in addition to winning the company-wide “Invention of the Year,” presented at ARPA-E Innovation Summit in 2015. His education includes an MS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Georgia Tech awarded in 2007 and 2011, respectively, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering with Minors in Engineering Mechanics, French, and International Studies from Penn State University awarded in 2004.
Aside from the above, Mr. Melsert does not hold and has not held over the past five years any other directorships in any company with a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act or subject to the requirements of Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act or any company registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Elizabeth Lowery was appointed to serve as a Director of the Company in February 2022, and appointed Lead Independent Director in March 2022.
Ms. Lowery is a proven sustainability executive and corporate attorney in both the public and private sectors. As a former Managing Director at TPG Capital, she played a key role to develop the firm’s formal Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) strategy, advising portfolio companies on related issues, including diversity and inclusion and improving gender diversity on portfolio company boards. She played a lead role in the launch of the TPG Rise fund, the impact investing platform of TPG, which is one of the largest ESG-based funds in the world. Ms. Lowery is also a director at Sagard, where she is Senior Advisor, ESG and Sustainable Finance, ERM: Environmental Resources Management.
In addition, Lowery held numerous executive roles during a 20-year tenure at General Motors Company (“GM”), including General Counsel for GM North America and Corporate Vice President of Environment, Energy, and Safety Policy. In these roles, she led the development and implementation of GM’s global environment, energy, and safety policy strategies and initiatives and co-chaired the US Climate Action Partnership Transportation Subcommittee where she directed efforts to position GM as a solution provider to address climate change.
She has served on several non-profit boards, including Chair of the World Environment Center, and the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers. She began her career as an attorney in the private sector after graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University and a B.B.A from Eastern Michigan University.
Aside from the above, Ms. Lowery does not hold and has not held over the past five years any other directorships in any company with a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act or subject to the requirements of Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act or any company registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Julie Blunden was appointed to serve as a Director of the Company in February 2022.
For 35 years, Ms. Blunden has rapidly grown emerging energy companies to leaders in their sectors from power generation to retail power, solar, energy storage and, most recently, EV fast charging. She now focuses on Board work related to batteries for both mobility and stationary storage as well as their supply chains. Ms. Blunden currently serves on the Board of Directors of American Battery Technology Company as Compensation Committee Chair as well as on the Audit and Governance Committees. She was elected the first independent Director on the Board ZincFive, where she chairs the Compensation Committee. In addition, at Plus Power, she is actively engaged through the Board of Advisors. At New Energy Nexus Ms. Blunden serves as Board Chair as well as serving on Audit, Executive and Finance Committees where she supports diverse energy entrepreneurs around the world to achieve a 100% clean energy economy for 100% of the population.
Ms. Blunden’s global experience includes executive roles at six organizations, including two publicly listed companies as well as the turnaround Chief Commercial Officer at EVgo through the completion of its sale to LS Power in 2020. Ms. Blunden has had P&L responsibility, extensive board engagement as an executive, served as Vice Chair at the Solar Energy Industries Association, a member of the Board of Directors at the national Energy Storage Association, and as a member of four other NGO Boards of Directors as well as two Advisory Boards. While Vice Chair at SEIA she led PV Now’s integration into SEIA as well as a refresh of Executive Compensation and Evaluation.
Additionally, she has served as Vice Chair of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a member of the Board of Directors at the National Energy Storage Association and was a former Executive in Residence for the Global Energy Management Program at the University of Colorado Denver’s Business School. Blunden has an engineering and environmental studies degree from Dartmouth College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Aside from the above, Ms. Blunden does not hold and has not held over the past five years any other directorships in any company with a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act or subject to the requirements of Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act or any company registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Donald R. (Rick) Fezell was appointed to serve as a Director of the Company in February 2022.
Spanning a distinguished 35-year career as a former auditor, senior partner, and Vice Chairman at Ernst & Young (EY), Mr. Fezell held multiple leadership roles at the industry, regional, and executive committee levels for EY, providing deep knowledge of financial reporting, risk management, and market-leading growth strategies to large public multinationals as well as emerging growth and newly public companies.
He was Vice Chair and Managing Partner of the firm’s Central Region, responsible for a $3 billion business across all service lines that included over 7,000 professionals in 17 offices. While serving as the Americas Vice Chair for Markets, Mr. Fezell oversaw growth for a $15 billion practice. Prior to his retirement from EY in 2020, Fezell served as the Americas Leader for EY’s alliance with Microsoft, at the forefront of transformation and digitalization and responsible for product development, investment allocations and joint go-to-market strategies to help drive digital platform growth at both EY and Microsoft.
Fezell has served on the board of many community and higher education organizations including The United Way, the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, the Orfalea School of Business at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Perspectives Charter Schools in Chicago. He is a CPA and graduate of Westminster College in Pennsylvania.
Aside from the above, Mr. Fezell does not hold and has not held over the past five years any other directorships in any company with a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act or subject to the requirements of Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act or any company registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Sherif Marakby was appointed to serve as a Director of the Company in February 2022.
Mr. Marakby brings significant operating experience in the automotive OEM industry from a 31-year career in the transformation, electrification, and technology innovation and AV development fields. Most recently, Mr. Marakby served as Executive Vice President, Corporate R&D of Magna International, one of the largest Tier 1 suppliers to the automotive industry in the world. Previously, he served as Uber’s Vice President of Global Vehicle Programs where he built a team that integrated self-driving technology into vehicles, partnered with Volvo cars for an autonomous vehicle program, and was responsible for business development with OEM partners.
During close to a 30-year career at Ford Motor Company, Mr. Marakby held a variety of product development positions, beginning with Chief Engineer and rising to President & CEO of Ford’s Autonomous Vehicle LLC, where he oversaw the development and launch of five new vehicles, including the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Additionally, during his tenure at Ford, Mr. Marakby served as the Director of Small Cars & SUVs globally overseeing two million vehicles and more than $40 billion of annual revenue in over 70 countries. In his role as Vice President of Electrification and Autonomous Vehicles, he was responsible for over $11 billion of electrification and $4 billion of autonomous vehicle development. From 2017 to 2020, Mr. Marakby was a director at Argo AI, an autonomous driving technology company.
Mr. Marakby has a Master in Electronics Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Aside from the above, Mr. Marakby does not hold and has not held over the past five years any other directorships in any company with a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act or subject to the requirements of Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act or any company registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Qualification of Directors
The Nominating Committee believes that each of the directors named above has the necessary qualifications to be a member of the Board of Directors. The Nominating Committee believes that each director brings a strong background and skill set to the Board of Directors, giving the Board of Directors as a whole competence and experience in diverse areas, including corporate governance and board service, finance, management and industry experience.
Vote Required and Recommendation of the Board
Directors are elected by plurality of the votes cast at the Meeting. If a quorum is present and voting at the Meeting, the five nominees receiving the highest number of “FOR” votes will be elected. Shares represented by executed proxies will be voted for which no contrary instruction is given, if authority to do so is not withheld, “FOR” the election of each of the nominees named above.
Only votes “FOR” will affect the outcome. Broker non-votes and withheld votes will have no effect on this proposal, as brokers or other nominees are not entitled to vote on such proposals in the absence of voting instructions from the beneficial owner.
THE BOARD UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE “FOR” EACH OF THE NOMINEES UNDER PROPOSAL 1
RATIFICATION OF SELECTION OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
Our Audit Committee has selected Marcum, LLP (“Marcum”) as our independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2023, and has further directed that we submit the selection of the independent registered accounting firm for ratification by our stockholders at the 2022 Annual Meeting. Marcum has audited the Company’s financial statements since 2021. Representatives of Marcum are expected to be present at the 2022 Annual Meeting. The representatives of Marcum will have an opportunity to make a statement at the Meeting, if they so desire, and will be available to respond to appropriate questions.
The selection of our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to be submitted for stockholder approval. Nonetheless, the Board is seeking ratification of its selection of Marcum as a matter of further involving our stockholders in our corporate affairs. If our stockholders do not ratify this selection, the Board will reconsider its selection of Marcum and will either continue to retain the firm or appoint a new independent registered public accounting firm. Even if the selection is ratified, the Board may, in its sole discretion, determine to appoint a different independent registered public accounting firm at any time during the year if it determines that such a change would be in our and our stockholders’ best interests.
The Audit Committee reviews and must pre-approve all audit and non-audit services performed by our independent registered public accounting firm, as well as the fees charged by it for such services. In its review of non-audit service fees, the Audit Committee considers, among other things, the possible impact of the performance of such services on the accounting firm’s independence.
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm’s Fees
The following table sets forth the aggregate fees billed or expected to be billed for audit and other services provided by Marcum, LLP for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022 and 2021. Marcum, LLP has served as our principal accounting firm since July 2021.
Audit Fees include primarily professional services rendered for the audits of the consolidated financial statements and internal controls over financial reporting, the review of documents filed with the SEC, consents, and financial accounting and reporting consultations.
Audit-Related Fees include reviews of the interim financial statements contained in the Company’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and review of regulatory financial statements.
Tax Fees include professional service fees for tax compliance, tax planning, and tax advice. Tax compliance involves preparation of original and amended tax returns and claims for refund. Tax planning and tax advice encompass a diverse range of services, including assistance with tax audits and appeals, tax advice related to employee benefit plans, and requests for rulings or technical advice from taxing authorities.
All Other Fees include professional fees associated with the review and consent of SEC filings related to equity issuance for certain officers and former employees.
Pre-Approval Policies and Procedures
Our Audit Committee has adopted a procedure for pre-approval of all fees charged by our independent auditors. Under the procedure, the Audit Committee pre-approves all auditing services and the terms of non-audit services provided by our independent registered public accounting firm, but only to the extent that the non-audit services are not prohibited under applicable law and the Audit Committee determines that the non-audit services do not impair the independence of the independent registered public accounting firm. Other fees are subject to pre-approval by the Audit Committee, or, in the period between meetings, by a designated member of the Board or Audit Committee. Any such approval by the designated member is disclosed to the entire Board at the next meeting. All fees that were incurred in fiscal year 2022 were pre-approved by the Audit Committee.
Vote Required and Recommendation of the Board
The affirmative “FOR” vote of a majority of the votes cast by the stockholders entitled to vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting is required to approve this proposal.
Because broker discretionary voting is allowed for this Proposal 2, we do not expect any broker non-votes for this proposal. Abstentions will not be counted as votes cast, and thus, will not affect the outcome of the vote on this proposal.
THE BOARD UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE “FOR” THE RATIFICATION OF SELECTION OF MARCUM AS THE COMPANY’S INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM FOR THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2023.
RATIFICATION OF THE COMPANY’S AMENDED AND RESTATED BYLAWS
On September 12, 2022, the Board of Directors of the Company approved and adopted amended and restated bylaws (the “Amended and Restated Bylaws”). The Amended and Restated Bylaws replaced the Company’s then-existing bylaws adopted in 2011 (the “Prior Bylaws”) in their entirety, including provisions that strengthen stockholder rights and enhance the ability of stockholders to engage with the Company.
The Company replaced the Prior Bylaws to update certain corporate governance processes to reflect the evolution from the Company’s founding to the very different company it is today. In 2011, the Company was incorporated for the purpose of acquiring rights to mineral properties with the eventual objective of being a producing mineral company, emphasizing gold and silver resources. Recently, the Company has evolved into a technology development and commercialization firm engaged in (i) the exploration of new, domestic primary resources of battery metals, (ii) the development and commercialization of new technologies for the extraction and refining of these battery metals from primary resources, and (iii) the commercialization of an internally-developed, integrated process for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries for the recovery of battery metals. Through this three-pronged approach, the Company is working to increase the domestic production of these battery metals by means of the acquisition and exploration of mining claims and battery metals recycling to ensure the constituent elemental metals are supporting the domestic manufacturing supply chain in a closed-loop fashion. These are very different goals than the more singular extraction-oriented focus that the Company had in 2011.
In the decade since our founding, the Company made no changes to our Prior Bylaws. Upon conducting a recent review of the Prior Bylaws, the Company determined that our Prior Bylaws no longer fully reflected the technology company we have become. Among other things, the Amended and Restated Bylaws offer greater opportunity for stockholder participation by (i) increasing the quorum required for annual meetings of stockholders to one-third of the shares entitled to vote to match NASDAQ governance requirements, (ii) reducing the requirement to remove a director to a majority vote of the outstanding shares, and (iii) improving the process to hold special meetings.
The foregoing description of the Amended and Restated Bylaws does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by the terms of the Amended and Restated Bylaws, a copy of which is attached immediately subsequent hereto as Exhibit A.
Vote Required and Recommendation of the Board
We are hereby seeking shareholder ratification of our prior September 12, 2022, adoption of the Amended and Restated Bylaws in the place of the Prior Bylaws as described above. Although stockholder approval is not required to adopt the Amended and Restated Bylaws, the Board of Directors values the opinions that our stockholders express in their votes and determined to seek a non-binding, advisory stockholder vote to ratify the Amended and Restated Bylaws. The vote is advisory and will not be binding upon the Company or the Board of Directors.
Shares represented by executed proxies will be voted for which no contrary instruction is given, if authority to do so is not withheld, “FOR” the ratification of the Amended and Restated Bylaws.
Only votes “FOR” will affect the outcome. Broker non-votes and withheld votes will have no effect on the outcome of the vote on this proposal, as brokers or other nominees are not entitled to vote on such proposals in the absence of voting instructions from the beneficial owner.
THE BOARD UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE “FOR” THE RATIFICATION OF THE COMPANY’S AMENDED AND RESTATED BYLAWS
BOARD MATTERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Board and Stockholder Meetings and Attendance
The Board has responsibility for establishing broad corporate policies and reviewing our overall performance rather than day-to-day operations. The primary responsibility of the Board is to oversee the management of the Company and, in doing so, serve the best interests of the Company and its stockholders. The entire Board selects, evaluates, and provides for the succession of executive officers and, subject to stockholder election, directors. It reviews and approves corporate objectives and strategies, and evaluates significant policies and proposed major commitments of corporate resources. The Board also participates in decisions that have a potential major economic impact on the Company. Management keeps the directors informed of Company activity through regular communication, including written reports and presentations at Board and committee meetings.
Directors are elected annually and hold office until the next annual meeting of stockholders or until their respective successors are duly elected and qualified, subject to prior death, resignation, or removal. The Company encourages, but does not require, directors to attend annual meetings of stockholders. There have been standing committee meetings and informal discussions of the Board, but no formal meetings of the Board during the last fiscal year. This is the first annual meeting of stockholders.
Board Composition and Election of Directors
Although we are currently traded on the OTCQB Market, our Board has determined that Elizabeth Lowery, Julie Blunden, Rick Fezell, and Sherif Marakby are all independent directors in accordance with the listing requirements of Nasdaq. Nasdaq’s independence definition includes a series of objective tests, including that the director is not, and has not been for at least three years, one of our employees and that neither the director nor any of their family members has engaged in various types of business dealings with us. In addition, as required by Nasdaq rules, our Board has made a subjective determination as to each independent director that no relationships exist, which, in the opinion of our Board, would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment in carrying out the responsibilities of a director. In making these determinations, our Board reviewed and discussed information provided by the directors and us with regard to each director’s business and personal activities and relationships as they may relate to us and our management. Ryan Melsert is not an independent director within the meaning of Section 5605 of NASDAQ. There are no family relationships among any of our directors or executive officers.
On March 22, 2022, our Board established three standing committees – an Audit Committee, a Compensation Committee, and a Nominations and Corporate Governance Committee – each of which operates under a charter that has been approved by our Board.
The following table provides information for the current membership for each of the committees of the Board:
The audit committee (“Audit Committee”) oversees the integrity of the Company’s accounting and financial reporting process and the audits of its financial statements. The Audit Committee is directly responsible for, among other matters:
The Audit Committee consists of (i) Rick Fezell, who is the Chairman of the Audit Committee, (ii) Julie Blunden, and (iii) Sherif Marakby. Each member of the Audit Committee meets the requirements for independence, including the enhanced requirements applicable to audit committee members, and can read and understand fundamental financial statements in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the SEC and the Nasdaq listing standards. In arriving at this determination, the Board has examined each Audit Committee member’s professional experience and the nature of their employment in the corporate finance sector. The Board has also determined that Mr. Fezell qualifies as an “audit committee financial expert,” as defined under applicable SEC and Nasdaq listing standards.
The Audit Committee operates pursuant to a written charter that is available on the Company’s website at: https://investors.americanbatterytechnology.com/governance.
Report of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors
The Audit Committee oversees the Company’s financial reporting process on behalf of our Board. Management has the primary responsibility for the financial statements and the reporting process, including the systems of internal controls. In fulfilling its oversight responsibilities, the Audit Committee reviews the audited financial statements in the Company’s annual report with management, including a discussion of any significant changes in the selection or application of accounting principles, the reasonableness of significant judgments, the clarity of disclosures in the financial statements and the effect of any new accounting pronouncements.
The Audit Committee reviewed with Marcum LLP, which is responsible for expressing an opinion on the conformity of the Company’s audited financial statements with generally accepted accounting principles, its judgments as to the quality, not just the acceptability, of the Company’s accounting principles and such other matters as are required to be discussed with the Audit Committee under the applicable requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the SEC. In addition, the Audit Committee has discussed with Marcum LLP its independence from management and the Company, has received from Marcum LLP the written disclosures and the letter required by applicable requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding Marcum LLP’s communications with the Audit Committee concerning independence, and has considered the compatibility of non-audit services with the auditors’ independence.
The Audit Committee met with Marcum LLP to discuss the overall scope of its services, and the overall quality of the Company’s financial reporting. Marcum LLP, as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm, also periodically updates the Audit Committee about new accounting developments and their potential impact on the Company’s reporting. The Audit Committee’s meetings with Marcum LLP were held with and without management present. The Audit Committee is not employed by the Company, nor does it provide any expert assurance or professional certification regarding the Company’s financial statements. The Audit Committee relies, without independent verification, on the accuracy and integrity of the information provided, and representations made, by management and the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm.
The Audit Committee and the Board have recommended, that the ratification of the appointment of Marcum LLP as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2023 be submitted as a proposal at the Meeting.
The Audit Committee reviews and assesses the adequacy of its charter on an annual basis. While the Audit Committee believes that the charter in its present form is adequate, it may in the future recommend to the Board of Directors amendments to the charter as it may deem necessary or appropriate.
This report of the Audit Committee is not “soliciting material,” shall not be deemed “filed” with the SEC and shall not be incorporated by reference by any general statement incorporating by reference this proxy statement into any filing under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, whether made before or after the date hereof and irrespective of any general incorporation language in any such filing, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate this information by reference, and shall not otherwise be deemed filed under such acts.
The compensation committee (“Compensation Committee”) evaluates, recommends, and approves policy relating to compensation and benefits of the Company’s officers and employees. The Compensation Committee is directly responsible for, among other matters:
The Compensation Committee consists of (i) Julie Blunden, who is the Chairman of the Compensation Committee (ii) Elizabeth Lowery and (iii) Rick Fezell. The Board has determined that Julie Blunden, Elizabeth Lowery and Rick Fezell are independent under the applicable Nasdaq listing standards, including the enhanced requirements applicable to compensation committee members, and all current members qualify as a “non-employee director” as defined in Rule 16b-3 promulgated under the Exchange Act. The Board has determined that each of the members of the Compensation Committee is an “outside director” as that term is defined in Section 162(m) of the Revenue Code, or Section 162(m).
The Compensation Committee operates pursuant to a written charter that is available on the Company’s website at: https://investors.americanbatterytechnology.com/.
The Compensation Committee may delegate its responsibilities under its charter to one or more subcommittees as it deems appropriate from time to time. The Compensation Committee may also employ a compensation consultant, independent legal counsel or other adviser to assist in the evaluation of the compensation of the Company’s executive officers and its other duties.
Nominations and Corporate Governance Committee
The Nominating Committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Board regarding candidates for directorship, and the structure and composition of the Company’s Board and committees of the Board. The Nominating Committee is directly responsible for, among other matters:
The Nominating Committee consists of: (i) Elizabeth Lowery, who is the Chairman of the Nominating Committee, (ii) Sherif Marakby and (ii) Julie Blunden. The Board has determined that Elizabeth Lowery, Sherif Marakby and Julie Blunden are independent under the applicable rules and regulations of Nasdaq.
The Nominating Committee operates pursuant to a written charter that is available on the Company’s website at: https://investors.americanbatterytechnology.com/.
Board Leadership Structure
The Board currently consists of five directors. We currently combine the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer into one position. We believe that this structure is appropriate at this time. We believe that this combined model has certain advantages over other leadership structures. This combined role allows Mr. Melsert to drive execution of our strategic plans and facilitates effective communication between management and our Board to bring key issues to its attention, and to see that our Board’s guidance and decisions are implemented effectively by management. Our Board has designated Ms. Lowery as its Lead Independent Director. Our Board believes that Ms. Lowery’s strong leadership qualifications among other factors, contribute to her ability to fulfill the role of Lead Independent Director effectively.
Board’s Role in Risk Management
Risk assessment and oversight are an integral part of our governance and management processes. Our Board of Directors encourages management to promote a culture that incorporates risk management into our corporate strategy and day-to-day business operations. Management discusses strategic and operational risks at regular management meetings and conducts specific strategic planning and review sessions during the year that include a focused discussion and analysis of the risks facing us. Our Board of Directors does not have a standing risk management committee, but rather administers this oversight function directly through the Board of Directors as a whole, as well as through various standing committees of the Board of Directors that address risks inherent in their respective areas of oversight. Our management is responsible for day-to-day management of risk. The Board regularly discusses with management our major risk exposures, their potential impact on our business and the steps we take to manage them. The risk oversight process includes receiving regular reports from board committees and members of senior management to enable our Board to understand the Company’s risk identification, risk management and risk mitigation strategies with respect to areas of potential material risk, including operations, finance, legal, regulatory, strategic and reputational risk.
The Audit Committee reviews information regarding liquidity and operations, and oversees our management of financial and cybersecurity risk exposures and the steps our management has taken to monitor and control these exposures. The Audit Committee also monitors compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and considers and approves or disapproves any related person transactions. Periodically, the Audit Committee reviews our policies with respect to risk assessment, risk management, loss prevention and regulatory compliance. Oversight by the Audit Committee includes direct communication with our external auditors, and discussions with management regarding significant risk exposures and the actions management has taken to limit, monitor or control such exposures. The Compensation Committee is responsible for assessing whether any of our compensation policies or programs has the potential to encourage excessive risk-taking. The Nominating Committee reviews compliance with external and internal policies, procedures and practices consistent with the Company’s charter and bylaws.
While each committee is responsible for evaluating certain risks and overseeing the management of such risks, the entire Board is regularly informed through committee reports and members of our management team about such risks. Matters of significant strategic risk and enterprise-wide risk exposures are considered by our Board as a whole. The Board does not believe that its role in the oversight of our risks affects the Board’s leadership structure.
Our Nominating Committee is responsible for reviewing with the Board, on an annual basis, the appropriate characteristics, skills and experience required for the Board as a whole and its individual members. In evaluating the suitability of individual candidates (both new candidates and current members), the Nominating Committee, in recommending candidates for election, and the Board, in approving (and, in the case of vacancies, appointing) such candidates, will take into account many factors, including the following:
Currently, the Company does not have a formal policy with regard to the consideration of diversity in identifying director nominees. Our Board evaluates each individual in the context of the Board as a whole, with the objective of assembling a group that can best maximize the success of the business and represent stockholder interests through the exercise of sound judgment using its diversity of experience in these various areas.
Communications with our Board of Directors
Stockholders seeking to communicate with members of the Board should submit their written comments to American Battery Technology Company, 100 Washington Street, Suite 100, Reno, Nevada 89503, Attn: Secretary. The Secretary will forward such communications to each member of the Board; provided that, if in the opinion of our Secretary, it would be inappropriate to send a particular stockholder communication to a specific director, such communication will only be sent to the remaining directors (subject to the remaining directors concurring with such opinion) or specific committees of the Board, as applicable.
Code of Ethics and Business Conduct
The Company has adopted a Code of Conduct.
Our Board has adopted an Insider Trading Policy, which applies to all of our directors, officers and employees. The policy prohibits our directors, officers and employees and any entities they control from engaging in transactions in publicly traded options related to the Company’s equity securities that hedge or offset, or are designed to hedge or offset, any decrease in the market value of the Company’s equity securities.
Our Related Persons Transaction Policy, Audit Committee Charter, Compensation Committee Charter, Nominations and Corporate Governance Committee Charter, and other relevant documents are available, free of charge, on our website at https://americanbatterytechnology.com/ The information contained on the website is not incorporated by reference in, or considered part of, this Proxy Statement.
There are no family relationships between or among the directors, executive officers or persons nominated or chosen by us to become directors or executive officers.
The following table sets forth information regarding the compensation awarded to, earned by, or paid to our directors who served on our Board for the year ended June 30, 2022.
EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND OTHER INFORMATION
The following table sets forth the names, ages, and positions of our executive officers as of October 3, 2022. Please see Proposal 1 for additional information regarding our directors. There are no arrangements, agreements or understandings between non-management security holders and management under which non-management security holders may directly or indirectly participate in or influence the management of our affairs. There are no arrangements or understandings between any director and any other person pursuant to which any director or executive officer was or is to be selected as a director or executive officer, as applicable. There currently are no legal proceedings with respect to our executive officers and directors, and during the past ten years there have been no legal proceedings that are material to the evaluation of the ability or integrity of any of our directors or director nominees
Chief Resource Officer
Set forth below is a brief description of the background and business experience of our executive officers:
Ryan Melsert is our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Chairman of the Board. A description of Mr. Melsert’s background and business experience is provided under “Proposal No. 1 Election of Directors.”
Kimberly Eckert, Chief Financial Officer, Kimberly Eckert has over two decades of corporate finance and strategic mineral resource development experience, working specifically within the critical minerals and precious metals industry, across the investment banking, corporate financial management, investment management, and strategic consulting fields.
Ms. Eckert served as Vice President at Deutsche Bank in Global Corporate Investment Banking of its Natural Resources Metals & Mining group, and as the Director of Strategic Development at Coeur Mining, a company focused on the development of critical and precious metals throughout Nevada, Alaska, British Columbia, and Mexico. She is an expert in corporate strategy, valuation, capital raises, and investor relations, with specific financial expertise in seed-stage start-ups within the natural resources industry. Over the course of her career, she has advised and executed on debt and equity linked financings as lead or joint bookrunner, and advised on numerous mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures.
Andrés Meza, Chief Operating Officer and Secretary, brings to the Company extensive expertise in operational leadership and manufacturing to establish the required procedures and frameworks to help advance development-staged companies to commercial stages. Most recently, he worked at the private equity firm Transom Capital as Vice President of Operations, managing a group of portfolio companies in which the firm had invested. Mr. Meza also served as an engagement manager for the management consultancy firm McKinsey and Company, analyzing the manufacturing operations of global corporations and developing strategic assessments for executives to implement operational efficiencies in their facilities and business units. He spent four years at Apple, where he was a global supply manager focusing on commissioning and scaling up manufacturing facilities across Asia and implementing cost efficiencies throughout their supply chain. In this role, Mr. Meza helped optimize high-volume manufacturing. He started his professional career at Georgia Pacific working as a process engineer at a paper mill where he was promoted to a shift team leader. He received an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arkansas and attended the Harvard Business School to further enhance his management and leadership skills.
Scott Jolcover, Chief Resource Officer, has development expertise spanning five decades including expertise in construction, mining and land development, water resource, claims management, economic and environmental solutions. Prior to joining the Company, he served as the Director of Development and General Site Manager for Comstock Mining Inc., where he managed all commercial transactions, including land, water and other major capital expenditures and acquisitions and served two years on their Board of Directors. Other roles include President and CEO for Virginia City Ventures, which established the Comstock Gold Mill and partnered with the Tri-County Railway Commission. Mr. Jolcover has board and leadership roles with Nevada Works; Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA), Design and Construction Committee; and a 20-year relationship with Virginia City Tourism Commission (VCTC), including Chair and Vice-Chair roles.
Bret Meich, General Counsel, has legal expertise in a wide range of industries. Prior to joining the Company in August 2022, Mr. Meich was a partner at the law firm Downey Brand LLP, where he represented clients for the past seven years, notably as lead trial counsel in complex commercial, natural resources, construction, real estate, labor and employment matters. Additionally, Mr. Meich has counseled clients in a range of intellectual property disputes and represented a technology licensor through several complex actions that resulted in multiple favorable judgments for license fees. Earlier in his career, Mr. Meich spent over six years at the law firm Armstrong Teasdale LLP as a business litigation and government law attorney. Mr. Meich holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, cum laude, from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law.
This section discusses the material components of the executive compensation program for our executive officers who are named in the “Summary Compensation Table” below. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, our “named executive officers” and their positions were as follows:
This discussion may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our current plans, considerations, expectations and determinations regarding future compensation programs. Actual compensation programs that we adopt in the future may differ materially from the currently planned programs summarized in this discussion.
Summary Compensation Table
The following table provides information concerning all compensation awarded to, earned by, or paid to our former or current “principal executive officer” and executive officers for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022 and 2021. We refer to these individuals as our “named executive officers.”
Summary Compensation Table – Executive Officers
Fiscal Years Ended
6/30/22 and 6/30/2021
Ryan Melsert was appointed CEO on August 27, 2021, and was appointed Chairman of the Board on February 27, 2022. Prior to this, he served as the Chief Technology Officer and Director. The compensation disclosed above reflect compensation earned as CEO and CTO.
Douglas Cole resigned as CEO on August 27, 2021 and as Chairman of the Board effective February 25, 2022. In 2021, Mr. Cole received total compensation of $3,798,434, consisting of $375,000 cash salary, $281,250 cash bonus, $2,785,100 in stock awards, and $357,084 other cash compensation. As CEO in 2022, Mr. Cole received total compensation of $2,922,500, consisting of $62,500 cash salary and $2,860,000 in stock awards.
David Corsaut resigned as CFO effective May 13, 2022. In 2021, Mr. Corsaut received total compensation of $255,477, consisting of $245,577 cash salary and $9,900 in other cash compensation. In 2022, Mr. Corsaut received total compensation of $3,160,500, consisting of $262,500 cash salary, $30,000 cash bonus, $2,860,000 in stock awards, and $8,000 other cash compensation. Mr. Corsaut received $300,000 cash under the terms of his severance agreement.
Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year End
Number of securities underlying unexercised options
Number of securities underlying unexercised options
Equity incentive plan awards: number of securities underlying unexercised unearned options
Option exercise price
Number of shares or units of stock that have not vested
Market value of shares or units of stock that have not vested
Equity incentive plan awards: number of unearned shares, units or other rights that have not vested
Equity incentive plan awards: market or payout value of unearned shares, units or other rights that have not vested
2021 Employee Retention Plan
On May 16, 2021, our Board of Directors adopted the Company’s 2021 Employee Retention Plan (as amended, the “Plan”). A total of 60,000,000 shares are authorized for issuance under the Plan. The Company has issued 1,891,930 under the Plan as of June 30, 2022.
The Plan allows the Company to grant incentive stock options, stock appreciation rights, common stock, units of common stock, restricted stock awards, restricted stock units, deferred stock units, performance awards and non-employee director awards. Stock options are exercisable for up to ten years, at an option price per share not less than the fair market value on the date the option is granted. Participation in the plan is limited to persons who are employees, consultants, advisors, or non-employee directors of the Company at the grant date. In the case of consultants and advisors, however, their services cannot be in connection with the offer and sale of securities in a capital-raising transaction nor directly or indirectly promote or maintain a market for the Company’s securities. The vesting schedule for options or awards granted is determined by the Compensation Committee at the time of the grant. The Plan provides for accelerated vesting of unvested options or awards if there is a change in control, as defined in the Plan.
SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS
The following table sets forth, as of October 3, 2022, the number and percentage of the 644,138,631 shares of outstanding Common Stock which, according to the information supplied to the Company, were beneficially owned by (i) each person who is a director of the Company, (ii) each named executive officer of the Company, (iii) all current directors and executive officers of the Company as a group, and (iv) each person who, to the knowledge of the Company, is the beneficial owner of more than 5% of the outstanding Common Stock. Except as otherwise indicated, the persons named in the table have sole voting and dispositive power with respect to all shares beneficially owned, subject to community property laws where applicable.
We have determined beneficial ownership in accordance with SEC rules. The information does not necessarily indicate beneficial ownership for any other purpose. Under these rules, the number of shares of Common Stock deemed outstanding includes shares issuable upon exercise of stock options or warrants held by the respective person or group that may be exercised or converted within 60 days after October 3, 2022. For purposes of calculating each person’s or group’s percentage ownership, stock options and warrants exercisable within 60 days after October 3, 2022, are included for that person or group but not for any other person or group.
Except as otherwise indicated, the address of each of the persons named in the table below is c/o American Battery Technology Company, 100 Washington Street, Suite 100, Reno, Nevada 89503.
CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS
We do not have any related party transactions.
Policies and Procedures Regarding Related Party Transactions
Our Board has adopted a written related person transaction policy setting forth the policies and procedures for the review and approval or ratification of related person transactions. This policy covers, with certain exceptions set forth in Item 404 of Regulation S-K under the Securities Act, any transaction, arrangement or relationship, or any series of similar transactions, arrangements or relationships in which we were or are to be a participant, where the amount involved exceeds $120,000 and a related person had or will have a direct or indirect material interest, including, without limitation, purchases of goods or services by or from the related person or entities in which the related person has a material interest, indebtedness, guarantees of indebtedness and employment by us of a related person. In reviewing and approving any such transactions, our Audit Committee is tasked to consider all relevant facts and circumstances, including, but not limited to, whether the transaction is on terms comparable to those that could be obtained in an arm’s length transaction and the extent of the related person’s interest in the transaction. The related person transactions disclosed in this Proxy Statement were each approved by the full Board or Audit Committee, as applicable.
Interest of Certain Persons in Matters to be Acted Upon
Other than the election of directors and any future receipt of awards under our Plan, none of our directors, nominees for director, executive officers, any person who has served as a director or executive officer since the beginning of the last fiscal year, or their associates have any interest, direct or indirect, by security holdings or otherwise, in any of the matters to be acted upon at the 2022 Annual Meeting as described in this Proxy Statement.
Delinquent Section 16(a) Reports
Section 16(a) of the Securities Exchange Act requires that our directors and executive officers and persons who beneficially own more than 10% of our common stock (referred to herein as the “reporting persons”) file with the SEC various reports as to their ownership of and activities relating to our common stock. Such reporting persons are required by the SEC regulations to furnish us with copies of all Section 16(a) reports they file. Based solely on our review of copies of the reports filed with the SEC and the written representations of our directors and executive officers, we believe that all reporting requirements for fiscal year 2021 were complied with by each person who at any time during the 2021 fiscal year was a director or an executive officer or held more than 10% of our common stock, except for the following: Scott Jolcover has yet to file a Form 3 to report his holdings since he became an officer on August 27, 2021, and he has yet to file a Form 4 to report his conversion of 200,000 Series C Preferred Stock on December 29, 2021. The Company expects that the aforementioned Form 3 will be filed as soon as practicable following the filing of this proxy statement.
Stockholders may submit proposals on matters appropriate for stockholder action at our subsequent annual meetings consistent with Rule 14a-8 promulgated under the Exchange Act. For such proposals or nominations to be considered timely, they must be received in writing by our Secretary no later than 120 days before the date on which the Company first sent its proxy materials for the prior year’s annual meeting of stockholders. For such proposals or nominations to be considered in the proxy statement and proxy relating to the 2023 Annual Meeting of stockholders they must have been received by us no later than May 27, 2023 (120 days prior to October 6, 2023, the one-year anniversary of the 2022 proxy mailing). However, if the Company did not hold an annual meeting the previous year, or if the date of this year’s annual meeting has been changed by more than 30 days from the date of the previous year’s meeting, then the deadline is a reasonable time before the Company begins to print and send its proxy materials. Such proposals should be directed to American Battery Technology Company, 100 Washington Street, Suite 100, Reno, Nevada 89503, Attn: Legal Department. Any proposal may be included in next year’s proxy materials only if such proposal complies with the rules and regulations promulgated by the SEC. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to require us to include in our proxy statement or our proxy relating to any meeting any stockholder proposal or nomination that does not meet all of the requirements for inclusion established by the SEC. Pursuant to our Bylaws, no business may be brought before an annual meeting unless it is specified in the notice of the meeting or is otherwise brought before the meeting by or at the direction of the Board of Directors or by a stockholder entitled to vote at the meeting, who has delivered written notice to our Corporate Secretary at our principal executive offices (containing certain information specified in the Bylaws about the stockholder, the proposed action, etc.). The provisions set forth in the Bylaws do not affect a stockholder’s ability to request inclusion of a proposal in our proxy statement, notwithstanding the Bylaws, if it is permitted and within the procedures and deadlines set forth in Rule 14a-8 of the SEC’s proxy rules.
The “Notice Period” for proxy solicitation in support of its director nominees other than the Company’s nominees is the period not less than 90 days nor more than 120 days prior to the one-year anniversary of the date on which the Company mailed its proxy materials to stockholders for the previous year’s annual meeting of stockholders. As a result, the Notice Period for stockholder nominees of directors at the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders will start on May 29, 2023, and end on June 28, 2023. However, if the date of the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders is advanced by more than 30 days prior to or delayed by more than 60 days after the one-year anniversary of the date of the 2022 Annual Meeting, the Notice Period will instead start 120 days prior to the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders and end on the later of (i) 90 days prior to such meeting or (ii) the 10th day following our first public announcement of the date of the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders. In the case of proxy solicitation in support of its director nominees, the soliciting stockholder must comply with all of the notice requirements set forth in Rule 14a-19(b) of the Exchange Act.
This is only a summary of the advance notice procedure. Complete details regarding all requirements that must be met are found in our bylaws. You can obtain a copy of the relevant bylaw provisions by writing to the Company at the address above or to email the Company at [email protected], or by accessing the Company’s filings on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
The Board knows of no matter other than those described herein that will be presented for consideration at the 2022 Annual Meeting. However, should any other matters properly come before the 2022 Annual Meeting or any adjournments or postponements thereof, it is the intention of the person(s) named in the accompanying proxy to vote in accordance with their best judgment in the interest of the Company.
The Company will bear all costs incurred in the solicitation of proxies. In addition to solicitation by mail, our officers and employees may solicit proxies by telephone, the Internet or personally, without additional compensation. We may also make arrangements with brokerage houses and other custodians, nominees and fiduciaries for the forwarding of solicitation materials to the beneficial owners of shares of our capital stock held of record by such persons, and we may reimburse such brokerage houses and other custodians, nominees and fiduciaries for their out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection therewith. We have not engaged a proxy solicitor.
The SEC has adopted rules that permit companies and intermediaries such as brokers to satisfy delivery requirements for proxy statements with respect to two or more stockholders sharing the same address by delivering a single proxy statement addressed to those stockholders. This process, which is commonly referred to as “householding,” potentially provides extra convenience for stockholders and cost savings for companies. The Company and some brokers household proxy materials may deliver a single proxy statement and/or Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials to multiple stockholders sharing an address unless contrary instructions have been received from the affected stockholders. Once you have received notice from your broker or the Company that they or the Company will be householding materials to your address, householding will continue until you are notified otherwise or until you revoke your consent. If, at any time, you no longer wish to participate in householding and would prefer to receive a separate Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials, please notify your broker if your shares are held in a brokerage account or the Company if you hold registered shares of capital stock. We will also deliver a separate copy of this Proxy Statement to any stockholder upon written request. Similarly, stockholders who have previously received multiple copies of disclosure documents may write to the address or call the phone number listed below to request delivery of a single copy of these materials in the future. You can notify the Company by sending a written request to American Battery Technology Company, 100 Washington Street, Suite 100, Reno, Nevada 89503, Attn: Secretary, by registered, certified or express mail or by calling the Company at (775) 473-4744.
AVAILABILITY OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements, and other information with the SEC. The SEC maintains a website at http://www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.
The 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K (which is not a part of our proxy soliciting materials), is being mailed with this proxy statement to those stockholders that received a copy of the proxy materials in the mail. For those stockholders that received the Notice of Internet Availability of proxy materials, this proxy statement and our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K are available on our website at https://investors.americanbatterytechnology.com/. Additionally, and in accordance with SEC rules, you may access our proxy statement at www.proxyvote.com, a “cookie-free” website that does not identify visitors to the site. A copy of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC will be provided to stockholders without charge upon written request directed to American Battery Technology Company, 100 Washington Street, Suite 100, Reno, Nevada 89503, Attn: Secretary. The Company’s copying costs will be charged if exhibits to the 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K are requested. The Company makes available on or through our website free of charge our Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to such reports filed pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as soon as reasonably practicable after filing.
October 3, 2022, By Order of the Board of Directors
Receive full access to all new and archived articles, unlimited portfolio tracking, e-mail alerts, custom newswires and RSS feeds – and more!