07/01/2016 09:07 EDT | Updated 07/02/2017 01:12 EDT

6 Williams Cos. board members quit after failing to dump CEO

NEW YORK — Nearly half of the board members of Williams Cos. quit this week after they unsuccessfully tried to force out the energy company's CEO.

In a letter made public Friday, former board member Eric Mandelblatt says he and five others quit after the remaining board members were unwilling to push out CEO Alan Armstrong. Mandelblatt says Armstrong "lacks the necessary judgment and character" needed to lead the company after a failed $33 billion takeover bid from rival Energy Transfer Equity.

In a statement, the company says Armstrong is the right leader for the Tulsa, Oklahoma, company.

Former Chairman Frank MacInnis was one of the members who quit. The company named Kathleen Cooper as his replacement, bringing its total members to eight. Before the six members quit, the board had 13 members.