DuPont CEO Kullman steps down; veteran executive Breen named interim CEO
By Sneha Banerjee
(Reuters) - DuPont (DD.N: Quote) Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman is stepping down this month and will be replaced temporarily by board member and veteran U.S. executive Edward Breen, who oversaw the break-up of conglomerate Tyco International Plc TYC.N.
The chemical and crop company, which is struggling with the strong U.S. dollar and weakening agricultural markets in Brazil and other emerging markets, slashed its earnings forecast for the second time this year.
Shares of DuPont, officially known as E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co, rose 5.6 percent to $54.17 in extended trading.
Kullman, 59, joined the company more than 27 years ago and has been its CEO since 2009. Earlier this year, she fended off an attempt by activist investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management to land board seats. Trian declined comment on Kullman's exit.
Before Monday's announcement, Du Pont shares were down nearly 28 percent from May 12, the day before Peltz lost his proxy battle with DuPont. Kullman acknowledged as recently as last week that the slide in its share price was "a concern."
A major DuPont shareholder said on Monday that Kullman’s decision to leave makes it far less likely that Peltz would launch a second proxy contest.
There was wide expectation that Peltz’s Trian, which has kept a 2.5 percent stake in DuPont, would have another go at DuPont come next proxy season.
"Clearly the board has continued to press Peltz’s concerns about underperformance and some steps were taken," said the investor, who asked not to be named. Continued...