- Procter & Gamble is engaged in a proxy battle with billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, whose hedge fund Trian Partners owns about $3.3 billion worth of P&G shares.
- P&G is in the midst of a plan to cut costs at the company by $10 billion over the next five years.
- P&G CEO David Taylor told CNBC he is pleased with the company's earnings results, which beat Wall Street's expectations.
"I want to prevent anything from derailing the work we're doing," Taylor told CNBC. The company, which makes Pampers diapers and Tide detergent, is in the midst of a plan to cut its costs by $10 billion over the next five years.
However, with its sales stagnating, the company has come under attack by Peltz's hedge fund Trian Partners, which owns about $3.3 billion worth of P&G shares.The fund is pushing for shareholders to vote Peltz to P&G's board. The proxy battle began earlier this month after P&G rejected Peltz's request to be named a director after months of meetings.
Taylor said P&G has a "rigorous" selection for board membership.
"The fact that he has good advice doesn't mean we just add him to the board," Taylor said.
Peltz does bring "a number of good folks with him," Taylor told CNBC. However, he said, P&G does not need a group to come and be a shadow management team.
Taylor's comments came after P&G reported earnings that beat expectations amidst aggressive cost-cutting efforts.
"I respect Nelson Peltz, I will listen to Nelson Peltz. There is evidence, though, now, that we have the plan and the portfolio," Taylor said.
He pointed to P&G's earnings results as proof its plan is working. The company's net sales remained flat at $16.08 billion for the quarter, though its organic revenue grew 2 percent. P&G's selling, general and administrative expenses fell 7 percent, and its profit climbed 13.5 percent.
He did, however, acknowledge two areas the company needs to address: diapers in China and Gillette. P&G's razor brand has struggled to compete with newcomers Harry's and Dollar Shave Club.
Peltz has criticized P&G for allowing the upstarts to eat into Gillette's market share.
Trian published a letter Thursday following P&G's earnings announcement criticizing the company's performance compared with its peers.
"Over the past 10 years, P&G's total return to shareholders is less than half that of its peers and it has been in the bottom quartile over most recent time frames," Trian said in its statement. "Trian believes P&G needs to address the root causes of this consistent underperformance, including deteriorating market share across most of its categories and excessive cost and bureaucracy."
P&G lowered its razor prices earlier this year. Taylor said it's about a 9- to 12-month story for Gillette, but Peltz's criticisms will not add a greater sense of urgency to reverse sales trends.
"We were already moving fast," Taylor said. "I feel that Peltz is pushing on things that I am pushing on, as well."