Activist investor Nelson Peltz wants to dismantle research and innovation at DuPont
It looks like DuPont is busy trying to find ways to pay back investors so that the corporation can keep one group in particular from forcing a corporate split to break away from what those investors see as unprofitable business activities. The challenge is being waged by Trian Fund Management LP, an investment management firm headed up by Nelson Peltz. Trian and Peltz want DuPont to split into two separate ventures, one being a growth company with a focus on agriculture and nutrition products, the other a materials company which can provide more consistent dividends to shareholders. This would, however, put a wrench into certain DuPont activities meant to encourage innovation at the company, such as networking groups and rotation programs that allow DuPont’s 1,000 scientists and engineers to provide feedback from diverse fields, which sometimes lead to serendipitous innovation. This would have hindered, for instance, the development of the biobased polymer Hyrtrel RS, a material for air ducts and office furniture which incorporates plant materials.