By Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Nadia Damouni
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Trian Fund Management, fighting for seats on the board at chemicals and agricultural conglomerate giant DuPont, said top company executives were still well paid last year even though the board acknowledged that the operating performance was poor.
The hedge fund said in a presentation filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday that the board’s compensation committee exercised “negative discretion” and gave management a 0 percent payout for “corporate performance” under the company’s short-term incentive program.
But it still paid management well, finding a way to give top executives a 80 percent to 100 percent payout factor for “individual performance,” the hedge fund said.
“How does it work that they think the business is going badly but the employees are doing great,” said Trian partner Ed Garden while presenting the hedge fund’s case at the 13D Monitor’s Active-Passive Investor Summit on Monday.
A DuPont spokeswoman said CEO Ellen Kullman’s “compensation is closely aligned with DuPont performance and shareholder interests.”
Trian is campaigning to win four seats on DuPont’s board meeting next month.
In the speech, Garden said Trian would seek to end “crony” compensation.
“We will get it fixed, we will bring an ownership mentality to the boardroom and we will make DuPont great again,” he said.
The fund, run by Nelson Peltz, is pushing the company’s board to be more accountable and is arguing to split the company into two pieces. Trian said again on Monday that it could save between $2 billion and $4 billion in costs every year by splitting the company.
Trian prides itself on forging generally collaborative relationships with boards and being a long-term investor.
(Editing by Ted Botha)