PROXY FIGHTS: Ambush at Generation Gap

For an auto-parts company, Midas-International used to be a remarkable place to work. At its Chicago headquarters, Bach chamber music wafted from hidden loudspeakers, while Technicolor-plumed finches twittered in a giant cage. The boss, bumper-bald Gordon Sherman, 43, was in the office round the clock some days—and other days scarcely at all. A man of intense energy and occasional brilliance, he often worked at home, where he also liked to tend his orchids and hummingbirds or tootle his oboe and English horn. Occasionally he held executive meetings at a zoo, or in the office by candlelight. "A certain truth...

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