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Why Mondelez’s CEO invited an activist investor to her company’s board

Draghi Speaks At The World Economic ForumDraghi Speaks At The World Economic Forum
Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Mondelēz InternationalPhotograph by Chris Ratcliffe — Getty Images

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for:What is the most difficult decision you’ve made in the past year? is written by Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International.

I make tough decisions every day, of course, but certainly one of the biggest I made in 2014 was the decision to invite Nelson Peltz to join our Board of Directors. To be clear, the decision wasn’t difficult because of my relationship with Nelson. He has held significant positions in our stock in the past, and we’ve had a constructive relationship over the years. Importantly, we agreed with Nelson on a number of issues facing the company. It was also clear that he shared the passion that our Board and I have for our brands, our geographic footprint and our ambition to become a high-performance growth company in terms of revenue and profitability.

I consulted with the Board and met with many of our top investors. The decision simply came down to doing what was in the best interest of shareholders. I needed to ensure that our organization remained laser-focused on executing the significant transformation that was underway at the company. Frankly, I was also concerned about the cost and further distraction that a potential proxy contest would have generated. In the end, I decided to welcome Nelson to our team. I’m happy to say that Nelson has been a valuable addition to our already strong Board.