Executing on that vision required microscopic focus and experience. Breen turned to longtime DuPont transformation journey collaborator EY.
Improving services remained the North Star throughout the process. “The first step is to understand how the transaction is truly going to improve shareholder and stakeholder value in the long term,” says Sanjay Ramaswamy, a partner in the Strategy and Transactions service line at Ernst & Young, LLP. “The next step is to look at the risks and understand what are the mitigating actions that a management team has to take to manage through these risks.”
Breen notes that the complexity of, in his words, “getting married and immediately divorced” required clear, long-term vision and execution for three separate companies.
Throughout the merger, Breen’s ability to frame his vision in terms of long-term value by recognizing shifts in the industry instilled confidence that a transaction that looked bold on paper was necessary, rational and valuable. “I always say, ‘What is the biggest lever we could pull to create long-term value?’” Breen says. “Nothing short term, but long term, where we are going to look back in 5–10 years and say we made the right decision. If you think broadly, you’re open and you’re transparent, a lot of great things can happen.”