DuPont’s New CEO Ed Breen Led The Decade-Long Breakup Of Tyco International

9 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

DuPont Names Breen CEO, Removing Interim Tag.

Chemical and seed giant DuPont elevated its interim CEO and chair to the permanent post as the company weighs a potential shakeup in its agricultural unit.

Kullman’s retirement brought a surprising end to the tenure of an executive who fended off, at least temporarily, mounting scrutiny from activist investors. The then-DuPont board member had taken over the post less than a month ago when CEO Ellen Kullman retired. “Ed Breen brings to DuPont an exceptional track record of business leadership and value creation,” Alexander Cutler, DuPont’s lead independent director, said in a statement. “As a chief executive, he has consistently delivered superior returns through robust growth and portfolio strategies, across a range of industries.” The appointment comes as DuPont is said to be considering a combination of its agricultural division with Syngenta or an alternative deal with Dow Chemical, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Breen said he planned a “deep dive” into DuPont’s cost structure and capital allocations “to ensure we deliver appropriate returns for our shareholders.” Ms. Kullman, who had led the company since 2009, took on billionaire shareholder Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management LP, which sought board seats and criticized the company and its leadership for bloated corporate spending and sagging profits. She took the reins as CEO from predecessor Charles Holliday in January 2009 as the global financial crisis battered industrial companies, during which time DuPont cut staff and maintained its dividend. He also spent three years as CEO of General Instrument Corp. after its split into three independent companies, one of which was later acquired by Motorola. She steered DuPont further into the food and agriculture business, acquiring food-ingredient maker Danisco in 2011 for $6.5 billion while selling its specialty coatings business to Carlyle Group CG -3.12 % LP for $4.9 billion in 2013.

During an analyst conference call earlier this year, Breen said the board has tapped an executive search firm to spearhead the hunt for a new CEO to lead the company valued at $66 billion, but declined to provide a timeline. DuPont recently lowered its earnings outlook for this year, citing the impact on the stronger U.S. dollar and continued weakening of agricultural markets, mainly Brazil.

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