Breen was named interim chairman and chief executive officer of DuPont eight months after becoming a director during the first round of a clash with Trian Fund Management LP over splitting the company.
DuPont, which has been in an on-going battle with activist Nelson Peltz to boost the company’s stock price, announced Monday that CEO Ellen Kullman will retire.
Kullman has overseen other big changes created to better focus DuPont on its core businesses.
The board of directors of Dupont already engaged the services of an executive recruitment team to find a full-time executive to replace Kullman as permanent Chairman and CEO.
Meanwhile, the company said it was moving up by a year its cost-cutting plan and expects to slash $1.3 billion in costs on a run-rate basis by the end of 2016 and about $1.6 billion by the end of 2017.
Because of the tough currency and demand environment, DuPont lowered its 2015 forecast for operating earnings per share to about $2.75 from $3.10. The company said the revision primarily reflects the effects of a stronger dollar against emerging-market currencies, especially the Brazilian real, and the further weakening of agricultural markets, again primarily in Brazil.
In a statement, Kullman said, “Over the past seven years, with the dedication of our entire team, we have transformed this great company by focusing our portfolio, streamlining the organization, and driving innovation that leverages our unique science and engineering capabilities”. The company said it will earn around 25% of its expected second-half operating earnings in the third quarter.
DuPont shares have declined 27 percent in the year to date. Brazil’s planting season is in progress and tighter profit margins and credit are causing growers to be more cautious with spending. DuPont didn’t release details Monday on how it would achieve those cuts, saying plans are to be finalized in the fourth quarter.
Mr. Breen has a record of revamping companies. The company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements as a result of future developments or new information.