DuPont Co. will cut 1,700 of the 6,100 jobs in its home state of Delaware next month, CEO Edward Breen told staff in a memo Tuesday.
The cuts, at offices and labs, are part of Breen’s effort to eliminate more than 5,000 of the company’s 54,000 worldwide positions before DuPont’s proposed merger with Dow Chemical Co. and their planned breakup into separate pesticide, materials and “specialty products” companies.
Breen, who is lead director of the Comcast Corp. board and chairman of Tyco International, told workers in his note that he and DuPont’s board had considered alternatives. But in the end, he said, their decision was unanimous since DuPont faces an “urgent need to restructure our cost base” and “reduce our corporate overhead.”
The memo and other documents were filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Last year, DuPont earned $3.5 billion in profits, on sales of $35 billion. Investors led by hedge-fund manager Nelson Peltz have pressed DuPont to cut more expenses and ensure that research is efficient and product-focused.