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Tronox CEO Quinn steps down in insider trading case

Securities and Exchange Commission alleges chemical executive gave insider information

by Alexander H. Tullo
January 4, 2021

A photo of Jeffry N. Quinn.
Credit: Jeffry Quinn/LinkedIn
Jeffry N. Quinn

Tronox CEO Jeffry N. Quinn is taking a leave of absence as a result of an allegation by the US Securities & Exchange Commission that he engaged in insider trading while a director of the specialty materials maker Ferro.

The board of Tronox, a titanium dioxide producer, has appointed its chief operating officer, Jean-François Turgeon, and its chief commercial and strategy officer, John D. Romano, as interim co-CEOs in Quinn’s place.

According to a complaint the SEC filed in US Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York, Quinn, described only as a Ferro Insider, and his fiancée fed inside information to a defendant in the case, Jason Peltz of Long Island City, New York.

The SEC points to phone logs suggesting Peltz and Quinn were in contact before news of a takeover bid for Ferro was leaked in March 2016. Around the time, published reports suggested that Apollo Global Management and CVC Capital had made overtures to buy Ferro, which the materials company rebuffed.

In the weeks prior to this news, the SEC says, Peltz bought Ferro shares through a New York–based associate and an entity in the British Virgin Islands, profiting more than $1 million from the trades. The Virgin Islands entity allegedly transferred nearly $1 million to a company Quinn controlled.

Peltz and Quinn, the SEC says, are close friends. Peltz, the regulatory agency says, helped Quinn obtain a private plane to reach a private Caribbean island where Quinn held his wedding.

Quinn joined Ferro’s board in 2013 as a candidate of the activist investment firm FrontFour Capital. He left the board in 2016 and became CEO of Tronox in 2017. Quinn was CEO of the chemical maker Solutia from 2004 to 2012.



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