Good morning, Broadsheet readers. DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman is under attack again by an activist investor, and a veteran California senator is not seeking re-election. Read on for some weekend inspiration from some powerful women working in the food and wine industry. Happy Friday!
• The battle intensifies. Activist investor Nelson Peltz announced on Thursday that he plans to push forward aggressively with his proposal to break up DuPont into two separate companies. Peltz plans to nominate four more board candidates to take on CEO Ellen Kullman who is persistent in her desire to keep the $67.5 billion chemical maker intact.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Mayer gets a letter. Kullman isn’t the only CEO under activist pressure right now. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer received another letter from shareholder Starboard Value, pleading with her to return to shareholders the money Yahoo earned from its 2005 investment in Alibaba. Starboard also is trying to dissuade Mayer from making any large-scale acquisitions.
• Boxer bows out. Veteran U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said Thursday that she will not be running for reelection in 2016. In a YouTube video interview conducted by her grandson (yes, her grandson), Boxer explained that she will continue to fight for the issues that are important to her, like equal pay and a woman’s right to choose, but that it’s time for her to “come home.” Boxer is 74, but said her decision to leave public office has nothing to do with her age.
• Full speed ahead. GM CEO Mary Barra thinks there is “plenty of room for the auto industry to grow” in 2015. Fueled by low gas prices and eager young buyers, the market for light-vehicle sales could hit 17 million for the first time since 2001, Barra predicts.
• Breaking ceilings. Ava DuVernay, whose film Selma opens nation-wide today, is the first black woman ever to be nominated for a Golden Globe for directing. DuVernay was not the first choice to direct the film about Dr. Martin Luther King’s voting marches in 1965, but the film’s star, David Oyewolo, recommended her. “Selma is a story about voice,” DuVernay has said. “I hope the film reminds us that all voices are valuable and worthy of being heard.”
• Don’t ‘forget these women’? Phylicia Rashad, the actress who played Bill Cosby’s wife on The Cosby Show, is now denying that she ever said “forget these women,” referring to Bill Cosby’s sexual assault accusers. “What I said is that this is not about the women; this is about the obliteration of legacy. I am a woman; I would never say such a thing.”
• No tape. An NFL-sponsored investigation into the league’s handling of the Ray Rice case found no evidence that any NFL employee watched the video of Rice hitting his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator before allowing him to continue to play in games. That’s good news for Roger Goodell, but the investigators added that the league could have been far more aggressive in seeking out information.
• MOVERS AND SHAKERS (newsroom edition): Stephanie Mehta, former deputy editor here at Fortune who helped launch The Broadsheet, is now an editor-at-large for Bloomberg Businessweek overseeing the editorial direction of Bloomberg’s live events. Sue Callaway, who co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women in 1998 with Pattie Sellers, is returning to Time Inc. as senior editor of automotive across titles, including Fortune, Time and other Time Inc. titles. Laurie Hays, Bloomberg’s senior executive editor, is leaving the organization. Hays, who was considered a potential successor to founding editor Matt Winkler, was passed over for the top job last month.
This month, The Broadsheet is partnering with our friends at Food & Wine to bring you news and inspiration from the top women in food and drink. Later this month, I’ll profile some of these culinary heroes, but for now, here are my three favorite stories from the series so far.
• Power in Paris. Even as the number of powerful female chefs in Paris continues to grow, Tatiana Levha of Le Servan stands out among the crowd. The 30-year-old Filipina-French woman cooks interesting food like mahogany-seared guinea hen that Momofuku’s David Chang calls “different from anything else in France.”
• The first in Argentina. Susana Balbo, also known as the “Queen of Torrontes,” was the first female winemaker in Argentina in the 1980s. What’s her philosophy for working in a male-dominated world of wine? “Never give up—if you fail, you’ll gain experience; if you succeed, it’s the beginning of a virtuous circle.”
• Be scared. Jody Adams, a restaurateur and Top Chef Masters alumna, says that if you’re not scared in the kitchen, you’re doing it all wrong. “If you don’t step out of your comfort zone, you won’t grow. Each time you fall down and pick yourself back up again, you get stronger and build your confidence,” she wrote.
For more food and drink inspiration, click here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Marry a friend. Married people tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives, according to a new economic paper. The study does not say whether or not marriage causes happiness or if happy people are just more likely to get married, but it’s clear that those who marry someone they consider a friend are the happiest of all.
• This is your brain, on baby. A lot of things change when a woman has a child, and new research suggests that a good chunk of those changes are neurological. Right after a baby is born, for example, its mother’s brain shows a pattern similar to the pattern seen in the brains of people with obsessive compulsive behaviors. “They’re constantly thinking about baby. Is baby healthy? Sick? Full?”
• Ellen, the fashion line. Ellen DeGeneres is partnering with Tory Burch’s ex-husband Chris Burch to launch her own clothing brand called E.D. The name stands for what her wife, Portia De Rossi, calls her: Ed. Chris Burch announced earlier this week that he will be closing the remaining stores of C. Wonder, a retail chain he clearly modeled after Tory’s namesake line.
Correction: Yesterday’s Broadsheet incorrectly stated that actress Viola Davis stars in Scandal. Of course she stars in How To Get Away With Murder — I fear I was suffering from withdrawals!
ON MY RADAR
|It's been really beautiful to me over the last months to see that unrest blossomed into very targeted civil disobedience with a lot of groups on the ground, a lot of people really organizing themselves. Selma is not a movie that takes place in the context of history.|
|-- Ava DuVernay, the director of Golden Globe-nominated movie Selma about the voting-rights marches of 1965, equates past racial unrest to recent events in Ferguson, Missouri.|