DUPONT
Top executives booted in corporate shake-up / Ed Breen back as CEO / Fiscal 2019 results decline
In an unexpected management shake-up at DuPont (Wilmington, Delaware / USA; www.dupont.com), the realigned company that emerged last year from the split of DowDuPont – see Plasteurope.com of 13.06.2019 – has shown its two top executives, CEO Marc Doyle and CFO Jeanmarie Desmonds, the door and reinstated Ed Breen as CEO, who will continue in the role of executive chairman he adopted after the demerger. Lori Koch, vice president of investor relations and corporate financial planning and analysis, has been appointed CFO. In her cumulative 17-year career at both the old and new chemicals and plastics producer, Koch had responsibility for finance in several plastics business segments, among other functions.

Breen, who became CEO of pre-merger DuPont after predecessor Ellen Kullman was sidelined in a power struggle with an activist investor, is regarded as architect of the megamerger with Dow. In announcing the leadership changes, independent director Alexander Cutler, said that “after careful consideration” the board had concluded that “now is the right time to restore Breen to the former chief executive role to draw more directly on his substantial operating experience.”

In a corresponding filing with the US stock market watchdog Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), DuPont said that as the departures of Doyle – a 20-year-veteran of the company – and Desmond constitute a “termination of employment without cause,” they will receive appropriate compensation. With Breen in charge of finance after the demerger, reports said Doyle’s position was more limited than that of his counterparts in the industry.

Commenting on the reasons for the board’s decision, Breen said that while DuPont made some progress in 2019 after the megamerger’s breakup, it did not meet its own expectations and now needs to move aggressively to secure its foundation for growth. “We have solid businesses, but we need to accelerate operational improvement and make sure we are taking appropriate action to deliver on our commitments for the year,” he added.

Analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence said Breen’s return to the helm should renew DuPont’s focus on cost cutting and “long overdue integration” after a spate of recent acquisitions (unrelated to plastics) and an at best tepid outlook for industrial activity. “Portfolio changes should continue but at a slower pace as Breen focuses on operations,” Bloomberg said. To assist in an as yet unspecified restructuring effort, former DuPont CFO Nick Fanandakis will serve as senior advisor to the CEO.
Erosion of polymer sales
DuPont’s full-year 2019 results, published on 30 January 2020, showed a decline in net sales of 5% against 2018 to USD 21.5 bn (EUR 19.9 bn). The company posted a pro forma loss of USD 522m on continuing operations, after a profit of USD 237m a year earlier. Pro forma operating EBITDA of USD 5.6 bn was 4% lower year-on-year.

The Safety & Construction segment, to which the former Dow XPS activities belong, saw full-year net sales fall 2% to USD 5.2 bn, while its pro forma operating EBITDA rose 11% to USD 1.4 bn. Transportation & Industrial (compounds, speciality polyamide, PPA, POM and polyester) saw a 9% erosion of net sales to USD 5 bn and a 14% drop in pro forma operating EBITDA to USD 1.3 bn. The EBITDA shortfall here was blamed, among other things, on reduced volume sales in automotive end-markets.
21.02.2020 Plasteurope.com [244570-0]
Published on 21.02.2020
DuPont: Breen nach enttäuschenden Ergebnissen zurück an der SpitzeGerman version of this article...

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