A 37-year veteran of Dow Chemical Co. who spent 10 years as chief financial officer before being fired as a senior adviser denied the company's accusation that he was involved in a clandestine buyout effort directed at the chemical giant.
``I categorically deny that I have been part of any secret effort to take over or acquire Dow Chemical,'' J. Pedro Reinhard said in a written statement Monday. ``It is regrettable that the company has rushed to publicly condemn me in the face of my complete denial of wrongdoing.''
Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical's chairman and chief executive officer, said Thursday that Reinhard, who retired as the Midland, Mich.-based company's CFO in October 2005, and Romeo Kreinberg, a divisional executive vice president, were dismissed with the board of directors' approval.
Reinhard still is involved with the company as a director because only shareholders, not management, can remove a director from the board, but a step was taken in that direction on Monday.
Dow Chemical announced that the board had revised its slate of approved nominees for election to that body in a list to be presented May 10 at the annual shareholder meeting in Midland. Reinhard was the only one of the 12 directors who was not approved for re-election.
The board also reduced its size to 11 members, to take effect at the time of the meeting.
Kreinberg said Thursday there was no truth to the accusations made against him.
Both he and Reinhard said they were exploring their legal options.
``I have always faithfully complied with my fiduciary duties to Dow,'' Reinhard said. ``My conscience is clear.''
Company spokesman Chris Huntley declined to comment specifically about Reinhard's public statement, although he provided more information about what led to the firings.
``In terms of the information we retained related to both Pedro's and Romeo's activities, that information came from a very reliable source in a position to know precisely what's going on,'' Huntley said, ``and the information clearly indicated that the two guys had been involved in a period of several months with various parties in a number of different locations to discuss the potential acquisition of Dow Chemical Company.''
On April 8, The Sunday Express, a British tabloid, reported that a group of Middle Eastern investors and U.S. buyout firms was preparing a bid for Dow Chemical, which makes and sells chemicals, plastics and farm products to customers in a range of industries.
The newspaper first reported in January that several private equity firms were interested in Dow Chemical.
The value of the company's shares fell 7 cents to $45.81 in Monday afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where the stock has traded in a 52-week range of $33 to $47.60.