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DuPont appoints Edward Breen permanent CEO

DuPont <DD.N> appointed interim Chief Executive Edward Breen, best known for overseeing the turnaround and breakup of Tyco International Plc <TYC.N>, its permanent CEO and chairman.

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A sign at the entrance to the DuPont chemical plant reads "Safety is a core value" in LaPorte, Texas, 26 miles from downtown Houston. REUTERS/Erwin Seba

DuPont <DD.N> appointed interim Chief Executive Edward Breen, best known for overseeing the turnaround and breakup of Tyco International Plc <TYC.N>, its permanent CEO and chairman.

Breen took over as DuPont's interim CEO on Oct. 16 after veteran Ellen Kullman suddenly stepped down.

Unlike Kullman, who was with DuPont for nearly three decades and was CEO since 2009, Breen has been with the company for less than a year. Breen was Tyco's CEO from 2002 to 2012, cleaning up after previous CEO Dennis Kozlowski, who was later convicted and imprisoned for financial crimes.

DuPont, which has seen sliding sales for nearly two years, has been looking to save about $1.6 billion annually by 2017. Breen has said he would revisit the company's budget allocation.

Under him, DuPont said last week it would consolidate some businesses within two units - one that makes nylon and polyester and another that makes materials such as Kevlar.

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Breen, who joined DuPont in February, has also said the company was in talks with rivals about its agriculture business.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that DuPont was in talks with Syngenta AG for a potential combination for its agriculture division and is also discussing a deal with Dow Chemical Co <DOW.N>, which is exploring a sale of its seed and pesticide unit.

DuPont, under Kullman, fended off an attempt by Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management to land board seats this year, but her departure has been seen as an effort to pacify the activist investor.

Peltz has urged DuPont to separate its volatile materials businesses from its more stable businesses.

Trian was not immediately available for comment.

DuPont shares were down slightly at $66 in light premarket trading on Monday. Up to Friday's close, the stock had gained 29 percent since Oct. 5, when Kullman stepped down.

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