Nelson Peltz, Who Mocked Company Name, Exits Mondelez Board

Updated on
  • Trian co-founder Peter May to occupy his slot on company board
  • Billionaire to become P&G director after 2017 proxy battle

Nelson Peltz

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Nelson Peltz, the billionaire activist investor known for pushing companies to make deals, is leaving the board of Mondelez International Inc. as he prepares to become a director at Procter & Gamble Co.

Peltz, 75, is being replaced by fellow Trian Fund Management partner Peter May, also 75. Debra Crew, 47, a U.S. military intelligence officer and former chief executive officer of the tobacco company Reynolds American, was also added to the board, Mondelez said in a statement on Tuesday.

Peltz joined the board in 2014, less than two years after it was created in a split with Kraft Foods. Peltz had pushed Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld, who orchestrated the company’s creation, to merge it with PepsiCo Inc. He ultimately abandoned the campaign and joined the board, where he helped oversee a cost-cutting push at the maker of Oreos and Ritz crackers.

The company’s shares have risen about 23 percent since he became a director.

“I am pleased with the progress the company has made over the last several years under Irene’s leadership,” Peltz said in the statement. “As a large shareholder, Trian remains a strong believer in the future success of Mondelez International.”

Known for speaking his mind, Peltz once said that the name Mondelez “sounds like a disease.” The company’s moniker was unveiled in 2012 as a combination of the Latin words “world” and “delicious,” but it left many observers cold.

Rosenfeld, 64, retired as CEO of Mondelez last year and will soon depart the board.

Mondelez shares fell 0.4 percent to $42.37 at 12:29 p.m. in New York.

Peltz is preparing to join to the board at P&G next month after a contentious and costly battle. Trian disclosed its $3.5 billion P&G stake last year and launched the proxy fight in July, saying P&G had an unwieldy number of brands and that its “suffocating bureaucracy” was hurting its ability to compete.

P&G will be the first board Peltz has joined in two years.

— With assistance by Scott Deveau

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