DuPont Co. is realigning its leadership team while exploring strategic alternatives for its Performance Chemicals segment, which includes a titanium dioxide plant in Edgemoor.
DuPont has been looking at options for some of its older businesses and recently sold its automotive paint unit to the Carlyle Group.
There have also been reports that activist investor Nelson Peltz has bought stock in the company. Peltz is known for demanding changes at companies, like H.J. Heinz that lead to changes aimed at boosting stock prices. (See column on page 5).
The company announced James C. Collins, Jr., who currently leads the Industrial Biosciences business, will become senior vice president, reporting to DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman, and will oversee the Industrial Biosciences, Performance Polymers and Packaging & Industrial Polymers businesses.
Collins will work to accelerate the integration of DuPont’s leading industrial biotechnology into its wide-ranging advanced materials businesses, as demand for renewably sourced materials expands steadily, according to a DuPont release.
A 29-year veteran of DuPont, Collins led the Danisco acquisition integration team before assuming his current role.
Also, Matthew L. Trerotola will rejoin DuPont and report to Kullman as senior vice president with responsibility for the Protection Technologies, Building Innovations, and Sustainable Solutions businesses. He will be accountable for driving improved execution and accelerate growth in these businesses. A previous DuPont corporate officer, Trerotola is familiar with DuPont’s strong brands including DuPont™ Kevlar, Tyvek and Nomex. Most recently, he was vice president and group executive of life sciences for the Danaher Corp.
DuPont’s consideration of strategic alternatives for its Performance Chemical segment may include a full or partial separation of each of these businesses from the company through a spin-off, sale or other transaction. The segment includes Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts businesses which generated total sales of $7.2 billion in 2012. DuPont may pursue a different strategic alternative for each business.
DuPont’s decision to explore strategic alternatives for its Performance Chemicals businesses reflects its ongoing portfolio review to determine how best integrated science can contribute to growth and the right mix of businesses for maximizing shareholder value. This follows DuPont’s sale of its Performance Coatings business earlier this year and the acquisition of Danisco in 2011.
“As we discussed at our Investors Day in May, we have been carefully weighing the strong cash generation of our Performance Chemicals businesses against their cyclicality and lower growth profile, as well as where the power of DuPont’s integrated science can be differentiated,” said Kullman. “We are evaluating options for our Performance Chemicals businesses as part of our ongoing plan to deliver higher growth and greater value creation for our shareholders.”