Dupont: Quote of the year (even though it’s early)

Following is a quote from a governance expert commenting on recently disclosed stock sales by Dupont CEO Ellen Kullman, which coincided with activist Nelson Peltz’s announcement that he and his firm, Trian, were seeking a split of Dupont’s main businesses as well as additional board seats. The Dupont board rejected Peltz’s board ideas earlier this week.

“It’s either dumb luck or dumb bad luck, depending on how you look at it,” said Frank Glassner, chief executive of Veritas Executive Compensation Consultants.

The stock sales, which were pre-arranged through a special program, happened last September and occurred nearly on the same day as the material news was reported, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company went to some lengths to say Kullman still owned more than her fair share of shares as if anyone in the general public understands ownership requirements for a CEO.

Here’s what they do understand: When something looks bad, and it involves millions of dollars being rewarded to someone who is already making 400x the average employee, then perception is reality. And vice versa. Pay gaps and lack of #transparency# remain hot button issues. Put them together and you have a cauldron.

While the stock sales were not ‘egregious’ as another analyst put it, the fact that the transaction coincided so closely with material news obviously raised a few feathers.

Some loyal TGR readers will recall Kullman was responsible for the 2013 quote of the year: “We need certainty so we can plan.” Looks like she finally earned some certainty. Read more here:

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