Mondelez International has added US ‘activist’ investor Nelson Peltz to its board of directors, the company has said.
Peltz is CEO and founding partner of Trian Fund Management, one of the company’s largest shareholders, with more than 46m Mondelez shares.
The investor previously has exercised his influence on several major food companies following large stock purchases, including Kraft Foods before its split with Mondelez, and in July last year, he urged PepsiCo to acquire Mondelez after buying a large quantity of shares in both companies. However, PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston dismissed the potential $80bn deal as too risky.
Since then, Mondelez has dramatically increased its share buyback programme from $1.2bn to $7.7bn until 2016 as it faced calls to merge with PepsiCo. Peltz has said he will not push for a Mondelez-PepsiCo merger, according to a CNBC report .
Mondelez has struggled to gain market share since its split from Kraft Foods, although chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld has said the company’s weak gum sales should improve with emerging market growth.
Commenting on Peltz’s appointment, Rosenfeld said in a statement: "We respect his more than 40 years of business and investment experience as well as his expertise helping consumer products companies leverage their brands and improve operating and financial performance. We welcome his input as we deliver superior shareholder returns."
Peltz said: "Trian has long seen enormous opportunities in the company's portfolio of strong global brands. Irene Rosenfeld is a CEO who has created substantial value for shareholders over the course of her career. I look forward to working closely and constructively with Irene, the Board and management team toward our shared goals of driving growth, improving margins and increasing value for all shareholders."