Corteva settles boardroom battle, agrees to add directors

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Corteva, Inc. reached an agreement with Starboard Value LP that gives the investment firm new independent directors.

The Wilmington-area company also agreed to nominate the three new independent directors for election as directors, along with the naming of another director.

With the four new independent directors’ addition, the board’s size will temporarily increase from 12 to 16 directors. Upon the conclusion of the 2021 Annual Meeting in May, the board will be reduced to 13 directors, 12 of whom will be independent.

Starboard, a hedge fund, bought a small stake in Corteva. It earlier called for the ouster of James C. Collins as Corteva CEO, citing what it viewed as a poor financial performance by the company.

Corteva is a combination of former DuPont and Dow agriscience holdings. It served as the driving force for the complex Dow-DuPont merger and spin-off. Corteva ended up with some DuPont liabilities and is also handling the DuPont pension plan.

“Our team has been intently focused on execution to assure that we meet our commitments to our stockholders and customers,” said Collins. “We are very pleased to have reached a resolution that will further enhance our Board’s existing depth of agriculture and innovation expertise as we move ahead and build long-term value as a global agriculture leader.”

“We identified Corteva as a leader in its field with significant potential to improve both growth and profitability,” said Jeff Smith, CEO of Starboard. “After constructive discussions with Corteva’s Board, we are pleased that these new directors will contribute their deep industry expertise and track records of value creation to help Corteva capitalize fully on its many opportunities.”

As a result of the agreement between Starboard and Corteva, Starboard will withdraw its director nominations previously submitted to Corteva. It will support the board’s full slate of directors at the 2021 annual meeting, a release stated.

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