Nelson Peltz and David Taylor, once adversaries over the direction of Procter & Gamble, met Thursday as allies taking a victory lap for the company’s stunning turnaround.
Nelson Peltz, founder and CEO of Trian Fund Management, and Taylor, chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble, have been working together for the past two years or so following a bitter proxy battle that resulted in Peltz getting a board seat.
Since the hedge fund legend joined the P&G board, the shares are up about 50% and have surged about 33% in 2019.
Where it once was hard to imagine the two working so closely together, they spoke warmly of each other during a conversation at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor.
“David has been a gentleman throughout the whole thing — we communicate a lot, even through the proxy fight,” Peltz told CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who moderated the chat. “I found that the most important ingredient a CEO needs to have is to be a good listener. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. We have an attitude at Trian, we steal any good idea and be proud of it. We’d rather be rich than right, and David has that same attitude. That’s why we’re getting along so well.”
Taylor added that the company has remained focus on its turnaround strategy “that we felt was very strong” even through the battle with Peltz.
“What we we did throughout the process was listened,” Taylor said.
“I’m not taking credit for anything,” Peltz added. “I found a great management team under David, one that I really have a lot of respect for, board that once the fight was over they came together and have been so welcoming to me, and I mean that. I’m not just saying that.”
P&G shares rose 0.4% Thursday. The stock had lumbered through most of the recovery, far underperforming a market that has surged more than 350% higher over the past decade.
A white paper that Trian presented in 2016 called for stronger organization and more accountability in the company. After the lengthy proxy fight, Peltz took a position on the P&G board in March 2018.