Global Processing

Heinz shareholders urged to reject billionaire investor’s board nominees

June 19, 2006

The Associated Press reports that H.J. Heinz Co. is urging shareholders to reject board nominees put forth by billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, who has tried to force the company to shift course and produce higher dividends. The move comes after Peltz and his Trian Group—investment firms Trian Fund Management LP and Sandell Asset Management Group—proposed a growth plan and nominated five members to Heinz''s 12-member board. The strategy submitted by Peltz and his partners last month calls for Heinz to cut annual costs by $575 million and reduce deals, allowances and other incentives to retailers by at least $300 million, among other measures. Heinz''s board rejected that plan, then issued its own growth strategy also designed to slash costs, develop core businesses and raise cash for shareholders. The Pittsburgh-based company said it expects to save $355 million over the next two years by trimming expenses through measures including the cutting of 2,700 jobs and the sale or divestiture of 15 plants this fiscal year. The company asked shareholders to elect a slate of directors it has nominated. A shareholder meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16.