In August 2013, Trian announced its investment in E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (“DuPont”), an iconic, 200+ year-old company that has invented some of the world’s most important consumer and industrial products, including Teflon, Kevlar, and Tyvek.
Trian saw an opportunity to enhance DuPont’s operating performance and long-term shareholder value through several initiatives, including an elimination of excess corporate costs, improved capital allocation, and improved corporate governance.
Shortly after investing in DuPont, Trian engaged “behind the scenes” with management and the board regarding the company’s historical underperformance and Trian’s suggestions to enhance long term value.
In January 2015, Trian nominated candidates for election to DuPont’s board and engaged in the second proxy contest in Trian’s history. In May 2015, DuPont shareholders narrowly voted in favor of management and the board at the company’s annual meeting. Trian received support from the vast majority of the active institutional DuPont shareholders as well as the leading proxy advisory firms, which Trian believes underscored a desire for change at DuPont.
In October 2015, following the retirement of its then Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman, Ed Breen, a then-recent appointee to DuPont’s board, was named Interim Chair and CEO (becoming permanent Chair and CEO in November 2015). In November 2015, Trian signed confidentiality agreements with both DuPont and Dow Chemical, at their request, to assist in negotiations for the merger of the two companies (to be called DowDuPont), which was announced in December 2015. The merger was completed on August 31, 2017. DowDuPont is pursuing a tax-free split into three separate public companies focused on Agriculture, Material Science and Specialty Products. Trian believes that each of these three companies will be industry-leading companies with enhanced global scale.
In September 2017, DowDuPont completed a strategic portfolio review that realigned several legacy Dow and DuPont businesses (representing approximately $8 billion of net sales) into the company’s Specialty Products division. In addition, DowDuPont reiterated its previously announced plans to achieve $4 billion in combined run-rate cost and growth synergies. Trian worked with the company and its advisors on the company’s portfolio optimization study and supports the portfolio adjustments announced by DowDuPont.