DuPont Shareholders Reject Dissident Board Slate

Election of all 12 of DuPont's director nominees is a blow to activist investor Nelson Peltz and his hedge fund.
Katie Kuehner-HebertMay 13, 2015
DuPont Shareholders Reject Dissident Board Slate

DuPont on Wednesday announced that shareholders appear to have elected all 12 of its director nominees, rejecting activist investor Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management’s bid for board seats.

Based on the preliminary results from the shareholder vote at the company’s annual meeting, the following nominees were elected to the board: DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman, Alexander Cutler, Lamberto Andreotti, Edward Breen, Robert Brown, Eleuthere du Pont, James Gallogly, Marillyn Hewson, Lois Juliber, Ulf “Mark” Schneider, Lee Thomas and Patrick Ward.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the vote and especially appreciate the strong expressions of support from so many of our shareholders for our strategic transformation and the continued execution of our plan,” Kullman said in a news release.

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“Our board and management value the open dialogue and input we have received from our shareholders, and we look forward to continuing to execute our strategic plan to make DuPont a higher growth, higher value company,” she added.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Kullman received a standing ovation from shareholders after the vote.

The showdown with Peltz had forced her to defend DuPont’s expanding product offering that now includes pesticides and solar-panel components, the WSJ said. She also had to address Trian’s attacks on vestiges of DuPont’s long history, such as a company-owned hotel, theater and country club.

Kullman argued that Trian lacked scientific expertise and that its focus was too short-term “for a business where laboratory breakthroughs and product launches can take more than a decade.”

“The vote, after two years of private and public jousting, is a victory not only for DuPont and its chief executive, Ellen Kullman, but for others in corporate America concerned that activist investors’ influence has grown too strong and that companies have capitulated to their demands too readily,” the WSJ wrote.

Kullman said Wednesday that DuPont has “a lot of work ahead” to continue “connecting our science to the marketplace.”