DuPont Brings in Chairman to fix 2015’s Merger Mess

Matty-Sways

The brains behind one of the biggest mergers and spinoffs is back as CEO to help rebuild the company he split apart.

A creator of the 2015 $120 billion merger between Dow and Dupont, Edward D. Breen, is returning to an engaged position now as the new CEO of DuPont de Nemours Inc. In a stunning vote, Dupont's board voted to fire CEO Mark Doyle and CFO Jeanmarie Desmond after less than a year at their posts. Mr. Breen, the company’s executive chairman, was named CEO, and former head of investor relations, Lori D. Koch became the CFO.

After the tremendous merger concocted by Breen, that produced three separate companies, Dupont, Dow, and the agriculture company Corteva, he has come back to help restore the one with the largest problems. DuPont’s shares are down about 30% since 2019, Dow is off 0.2%, but Corteva is up 27% since the Summer of 2019. We did not meet our own expectations,” said Mr. Breen. “We need to accelerate operational improvement.” 

Mr. Breen has built a career at breaking apart companies. He spent a decade at  Tyco International, breaking apart one of the largest U.S. conglomerates. In 2015, Dupont was defending from activist investor Nelson Peltzs who believed that more value would be unlocked if the company was broken up. Mr. Breen invited Trian into negotiation with Dow to secure the activists approval of the merger.

DuPont faces problems as a larger slowdown looms on U.S. manufacturing companies such as 3M and Caterpillar and global trade. 

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