Nelson Peltz stepped up his activist fight to try to get Dupont to split itself up by encouraging shareholders to consider voting for board nominees not nominated by the company.
Peltz requested the use of a so-called universal proxy at the upcoming shareholders meeting, according to Fortune. The universal proxy allows board members nominated by shareholders to appear alongside company-backed nominees, rather than having separate cards for each type of nominee.
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DuPont said there is no need to change the voting system for board members and it would be too complicated to issue universal proxies to 600, 000 individual shareholders.
Trian Partners, Peltz’s hedge fund, has a $1.9 billion stake in Dupont and has nominated 4 people to the board. Dupont CEO Ellen Kullman wrote in Dupont’s proxy filing, “The board of directors strongly urges you not to sign or return any proxy card sent to you by Trian.” Peltz presumably prefers the use of the universal proxy card, because it has been an effective means of shaking up boards. The universal proxy card played a role in Bill Ackman’s loss of Target in 2009 and his success with Canadian Railway’s board.