Revolt in the Ranks

GRC International Inc. shareholders will vote today on a shareholder proposal to oust GRC Chairman Joseph R. Wright Jr. and CEO Gary L. Denman. The proposal, in the form of an alternate slate of directors, was put forth by GRC board member Frank Cilluffo, who is unhappy with the performance of the company's stock.

The incumbent management got a boost Thursday when Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy-voting advisory firm, recommended that Wright and Denman be reelected to the board.

ISS, as the advisory firm is known, said in its analysis, "The company has shown strong signs of a turnaround since the arrival of Wright, Denman and their team, and we believe that interruption of the company's strategy is not warranted."

GRC, based in Vienna, is an information technology and engineering consulting firm that had 1,100 employees and $165 million in fiscal 1999 sales. The stock closed unchanged Friday at $8.50.

Food Tech

U.S. Foodservice, a Columbia company in the relatively low-tech world of food distribution, has launched a dot-com to sell its high-end food and restaurant equipment directly to consumers.

Called Next Day Gourmet, the service will sell items such as chafing dishes, commercial mixers, 100-year-old balsamic vinegar and caviar. CEO Jim Miller said it is a way of leveraging U.S. Foodservice's growing brand identity and nationwide distribution system to build an entirely new consumer business.

U.S. Foodservice is the fifth-largest food distributor in the country, with about 13,000 employees.

Primus Shops Brazil

Primus Telecommunications Group Inc. of McLean, an international voice and data communications company, bought a controlling stake Wednesday in Brazil's fifth-largest Internet service provider for an undisclosed amount of cash. Dow Jones News Service quoted a source close to the deal as valuing the Brazil company at about $30 million.

Primus officials said in a statement the purchase will allow the company to be a full-service telecommunications provider in Brazil when that country's market deregulates in the coming years.

Primus had sales last year of $421 million and nearly 900 employees.

Aftershocks at Socrates

Socrates Technologies Corp., a Vienna developer of supply-chain-management software, had another board shake-up last week.

Edward Ratkovich, 73, who founded the company and until recently was CEO, resigned as chairman. Also resigning Wednesday were directors Clive Whittenbury and Paul Roberts.

In late September, a group of bankers led by Timothy J. Keenan as the new CEO took over management of the company.

Keenan, in a statement, said the shareholders will be asked to vote in three new nominees for the seven-person board, which would give Keenan and his associates complete control of the company.