Nelson Peltz, the veteran activist investor, has launched a campaign to get a seat on the board of Procter & Gamble, the US consumer goods company in which his Trian Fund Management group took a stake of roughly $3bn in February.
In a proxy statement to P&G shareholders on Monday morning, Trian put Mr Peltz up for nomination to the board, arguing that his “significant expertise and long track record of working successfully with management teams …. will be invaluable to the company as it works to overcome its challenges.”
Trian criticised P&G for years of weak organic sales growth which it attributed to “an overly complex organizational structure and a slow moving and insular culture.”
P&G has been aggressively reducing costs since 2012, when it launched a $10bn cost-cutting programme but it is still struggling to improve sales growth at the pace it has promised.
Chas Manso, analyst at Societe Generale, said: “One thing P&G is now good at is cutting costs but Peltz wants more of these savings to hit the bottom line. For the last couple of years at least, there have been calls for P&G to break up. The pro break-up argument is that P&G is too big and complex such that it would be better off splitting off into a series of focused units.”
While Mr Peltz did agitate for a break-up of PepsiCo, when Trian took a $1.2bn stake in the soft drinks and Frito-Lay snacks group in 2012, Trian said on Monday that it was not advocating a break-up of P&G, nor was it suggesting that P&G’s chief executive, David Taylor, be replaced.
In 2013, Mr Peltz took a stake in Mondelez, pushed through a $1.5bn cost saving programme and was invited onto the board in 2014.
Trian’s attempt to get on the DuPont board in 2015 failed but it did win seats in 2006 in a similar proxy battle against Heinz.