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DuPont Wins Votes Against Trian

DuPont Wins Votes Against Trian
Study Group 13 Meeting 20 April 2015 ITU Pictures / Flickr CC BY 2.0


DuPont Wins Votes Against Trian

Ellen Kullman, chief executive of DuPont, received a standing ovation after she was re-elected with maximum votes on Wednesday’s meeting in Wilmington, Del. She described the win as an “interesting engagement.” Kullman, who has been leading the company since 2009, said that even though she won the proxy battle, the shareholder won’t feel the pressure of her victory.

Nelson Peltz pushed DuPont to join the board. In a closed door voting on Wednesday, DuPont’s shareholders were re-elected, declining Peltz’s argument that his Trian Fund Management LP needs to be on board to gain profit. Trian sought four of DuPont’s 12 board seats, one for chief executive Peltz, who put stress on extensive research, corporate expenses and better inspections.

DuPont performed well under Kullman. With a market value of about $68 billion, it is one of the biggest companies to enter into such proxy battle.

Investors reasoned as to why they voted for Kullman. They said over the years, Kullman has been wooing investors and maintaining friendly terms with them. Some appreciate Trian’s move for putting pressure on Kullman.

“The company, as a result of this, is a little bit stronger, better, more focused,” said Kevin Walkush, an analyst for Jensen Investment Management.

DuPont won the votes from three largest shareholders: Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc., and State Street Corp. On the other hand, Trian won support from Fidelity Investments, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Capital Research & Management Co.

Colin Wong, analyst for Mawer Investment Management Ltd., an Alberta-based firm with 900,000 DuPont shares, said that DuPont contacted his firm and talked to board members Lee Thomas and Chief Financial Officer Nick Fanandakis via phone.

Mr. Wong said that Trian cited examples with how DuPont measured performance and strategies. He recalls, “We ended up siding with management, given that they have done a lot of the stuff they said they were going to do.”

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