DuPont Stock Price Jumps 12% Today After CEO Resigns (NYSE: DD)

The DuPont stock price jumped more than 12% to $57.96 today (Tuesday) after Chairwoman and CEO Ellen Kullman announced she will retire from the company on Oct. 16.

E I DuPont De Nemours & Co. (NYSE: DD) gave no reason for Kullman's abrupt departure. She has been with the company for 27 years. But Kullman's exit coincided with DuPont's lowered earnings outlook for the year.

DuPont reduced its FY2015 earnings per share (EPS) outlook on Monday from $3.10 to $2.75. Analysts had previously projected EPS of $3.19. The company cited a strong dollar versus emerging market currencies and weak agriculture markets for the revision.

du pontDuPont's uninspiring guidance has prompted activist investor Nelson Peltz to get involved.

In May, Kullman defeated Peltz's efforts to gain seats on DuPont's 12-member board of directors. A board seat would have better positioned the billionaire investor to push for changes, like breaking up the company. That's a move that Peltz has said would boost the DuPont stock price. Peltz currently has a 2.7% stake in DuPont stock.

DuPont's board has already begun looking for a full-time replacement for CEO. In the meantime, Edward Breen, a current member of the DuPont board of directors, will step in as interim chairman and CEO.

Breen's resume shows he is adept at overhauling companies. He was CEO of Tyco International from 2002 to 2012, where he oversaw two breakups of the company. Emerging from the breakups were Covidien Plc., bought by Medtronic Plc. (NYSE: MDT) in 2014 for $42.9 billion. Other spin-offs include TE Connectivity Ltd. (NYSE: TEL) and ADT Corp. (NYSE: ADT), as well as the merger of Tyco Flow Control with Pentair Ltd.

Even despite today's 12% gain, the DuPont stock price is still down more than 23% in 2015.

And now the company is accelerating its plan to boost the DD stock price...

The Plan for Boosting the DuPont Stock Price

Kullman initially had a great impact on the DuPont stock price, as it has climbed more than 100% since she took over as CEO in January 2009. But that impact has cooled as the stock is down 3% in the last two years.

In an attempt to get shares moving higher, DuPont said Monday it will accelerate its cost-cutting plan.

The goal is to slash $1.3 billion in costs by the end of 2016 and about $1.6 billion by the end of 2017. DuPont didn't say how it would achieve those cuts, but said the plans will be finalized in Q4 2015.

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The company will likely sell or spin off its agricultural and biosciences divisions. That could result in savings of between $2 billion and $4 billion. DuPont's chemical division, Chemours Co. (NYSE: CC), was spun off in July.

But since hitting the market, CC stock has underperformed. The company makes materials for nonstick frying pans and house paints. At a recent price of $7.74, CC shares are well off their $22.25 high reached just a few months ago.

Today's reaction from investors shows that the shakeup was needed for the DuPont stock price.  With Breen at the helm - even temporarily - and Peltz's clout, shareholders believe DuPont stock has plenty of upside.

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