Issue Date: February 16, 2015
Trian Presses For Seats On DuPont’s Board
The conflict between DuPont and Trian Partners, the hedge fund run by activist investor Nelson Peltz, appears to be headed to a proxy fight at DuPont’s annual meeting later this year. Earlier this month, DuPont attempted to scuttle Trian’s efforts by naming two seasoned executives—James L. Gallogly, former CEO of LyondellBasell Industries, and Edward D. Breen, chairman of Tyco International—to replace two outgoing directors. The company also rejected three of four Trian nominees to the board, including Peltz. Trian, which controls a 2.7% stake in DuPont, is standing by its nominees. Trian also set up a website, DuPontCanBeGreat.com, to distribute information to DuPont shareholders. On this website, Trian posted a new, 78-page, white paper critiquing DuPont, repeating arguments that DuPont is stymied by too much overhead, that its shareholder returns have been subpar, and that some of its strategic moves—including the sale of its coatings business to a private equity firm—have been missteps. Trian also struck a conciliatory tone, softening its argument that DuPont needs to be broken up. “Trian nominees are open-minded to keeping the portfolio together if performance can be improved,” the hedge fund noted.
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