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Msg  114 of 120  at  2/8/2023 8:39:40 PM  by


DuPont CEO Ed Breen to Stay on After Contract Expires; Architect of company's merger

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DuPont CEO Ed Breen to Stay on After Contract Expires; Architect of company's merger and breakup wants to end speculation

 Keilman, John.  Wall Street Journal (Online); New York, N.Y.

DuPont Inc. Chief Executive Edward Breen said that he has agreed with the materials maker's board to stay in his job after his contract expires at the end of the year.

Mr. Breen, who has helmed DuPont since returning to the company 's top job in February 2020, said investors have frequently asked whether he'll retire when his contract is up, and that he and the board wanted to take that question off the table.

"I'm going to continue employment after the end of the year" as an at-will employee, he said Tuesday during a quarterly earnings call with analysts. Mr. Breen said that while DuPont is developing internal candidates who might eventually assume the CEO job, the company isn't at that point.

Mr. Breen joined DuPont in 2015 after a decade at Tyco International Ltd., a conglomerate he led through two breakups. At DuPont, Mr. Breen shepherded the company through its $120 billion merger with Dow Chemical Co. That entity then broke into three new companies: Corteva Inc., which makes pesticides and agricultural chemicals; Dow Inc., focused on materials such as plastics and silicones; and DuPont, which manufactures products such as Kevlar fibers and materials used in smartphones.

Mr. Breen became DuPont's executive chairman following the breakup but returned to the CEO job in 2020 after the reconstituted company struggled to generate sales growth. A DuPont spokesman on Tuesday declined to comment beyond Mr. Breen's remarks.

Since its stock began trading after completion of the three-way split in June 2019, DuPont has seen its share price increase by 18.5% while the S&P 500 has increased by 51.3% during that time, according to FactSet. Over the past six months, DuPont shares have gained 31.1%, while the S&P 500 has increased 0.6%.

DuPont on Thursday reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings per share of 89 cents, beating the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet, who predicted 78 cents. Price increases offset inflation related to raw materials , logistics and energy, the company said.

For 2023, the company forecast net sales of up to $12.9 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $3.50 to $4, in line with analysts' prediction of $3.87, according to FactSet.

DuPont shares closed 7.5% higher Tuesday, while U.S. stock indexes increased by about 1%.

Mr. Breen told analysts that the company's electronics business, which suffered in 2022 because of soft consumer demand and Covid-related shutdowns in China , is poised for a comeback. He said DuPont's semiconductor technologies could be an especially strong performer.

"We're going to have a couple of softer quarters here, but the outlook over the next decade is pretty incredible in this space," he said.

Some companies have predicted construction will pick up over the second half of 2023, but DuPont, which manufactures building products such as Tyvek wrap, expects muted demand to continue despite bright spots in some parts of the country.

Responding to a question about potential deal making this year, Mr. Breen said the company is considering "bolt-on" acquisitions but wants to be sure the price is right.

"What we really want to do is pick up innovation and R&D and technologies in core areas to build out a couple of the platforms," he said.


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