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Cramer: Listen up, DuPont! What Pepsi did right

Cramer: Listen up DuPont! What Pepsi did right

Sometimes Jim Cramer can only explain a stock's performance with numbers. It all comes down to the numbers—it's as simple as that.

PepsiCo, led by Indra Nooyi, delivered spectacular numbers Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, Ellen Kullman at DuPont produced hideous results on Monday night.

The result?

Kullman is out, and Nooyi is now considered a best-in-class CEO in the entire consumer packaged goods sector.

"Sure, DuPont is a chemical company and PepsiCo sells snacks and sodas, but they do have one big thing in common, and on that front, the contrast couldn't be more stark. That's because Trian Partners, the activist fund run by Nelson Peltz, tried to effect change at both companies," the "Mad Money" host said.

A winner can keep any critic at bay, and Nooyi is a winner
Indra Nooyi and Ellen Kullman
Adam Jeffery | CNBC; Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

When Cramer researched activists, Peltz was the only one who consistently beat the averages for investors who piggybacked off his announced investments.

However, when Trian stepped in to effect change at DuPont and PepsiCo, both Nooyi and Kullman responded in dramatically different ways.

Nooyi welcomed a Trian representative, the former CEO of Heinz Bill Johnson, to her board of directors. Peltz wanted to break up PepsiCo into two separate entities, food and beverage, and he may still favor that strategy.

However, Nooyi proceeded to show why PepsiCo's combination of snacks and beverages can be a winning one; ultimately, keeping PepsiCo together allowed Nooyi to deliver superior results.

"A winner can keep any critic at bay, and Nooyi is a winner," Cramer said. (Tweet this)

On the flipside, while Kullman won the proxy fight with Peltz, Cramer found the entire battle to be a waste of time and resources. Peltz has a large position in DuPont and wanted a board seat; he suggested the company break up to unlock value. That seemed reasonable to Cramer.

In Cramer's perspective, Peltz wasn't after Kullman's head. He simply wanted to be a catalyst for big change. However, unlike Nooyi at PepsiCo, Kullman's Dupont said no. The possibility of Trian's suggestions even sent the stock soaring to $76, but when Peltz failed to win, the stock plummeted.

Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer

Cramer Remix: What Ellen Kullman should have done
Cramer: Why I'm rethinking my view on the market
Cramer: Peltz could double GE's stock

And now DuPont's stock roared on Tuesday, and Cramer thinks it was because Kullman was viewed as standing in the way of the break up. She also promised better results than she delivered.

"The truth, though, is that this hideous guide down, something that Peltz predicted would happen, was the last straw as the board recognized that someone else could do a better job," Cramer said.

In the end, Cramer thinks Nooyi won because she puts up better numbers, and Kullman lost because she didn't. However, he does wonder if Kullman hadn't been so stubborn in fighting Peltz, could there have been a better outcome for both her and DuPont shareholders?

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