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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: ADP CEO Carlos Rodriguez Speaks with CNBC’s David Faber

Where: CNBC's "Squawk on the Street"

When: Today, Friday, August 10, 2017

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with ADP CEO Carlos Rodriguez on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Thursday, August 10th. Following is a link to the interview on CNBC.com: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/08/10/adp-ceo-carlos-rodriguez-were-willing-to-listen-to-bill-ackmans-ideas.html.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

DAVID FABER: JOINING ME NOW IN A CNBC EXCLUSIVE IS ADP'S CEO CARLOS RODRIGUEZ. VERY NICE TO HAVE YOU JOINING US. THANK YOU.

CARLOS RODRIGUEZ: THANK YOU. THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

DAVID FABER: IN ALL OF THESE FIGHTS, THE FIRST QUESTION I TYPICALLY HAVE FOR A CEO IS WHY BOTHER? WHY THE FIGHT? WHY THE DECISION? YOU ENGAGE WITH MR ACKMAN- THAT HAS BEEN DETAILED IN YOUR OWN RELEASES AND SOME OF HIS COMMENTS AT LEAST BRIEFLY. HE MAKES SOME POINTS AND YOU MAKE A DECISION TO FIGHT. IT CAN BE VERY DISTRACTING, TAKE A LOT OF TIME. WHY DID YOU MAKE THAT CHOICE?

RODRIGUEZ: WELL, THE ONLY THING WE'VE CHOSEN SO FAR IS TO FIGHT A REQUEST FOR AN EXTENSION, WHICH REALLY REQUIRED AN AMENDMENT TO OUR BYLAWS -- TO OUR NOMINATING DEADLINE WHICH IS AUGUST 10th. SO I THINK WE'VE OFFERED, TO, BILL, TO HAVE HIM MEET WITH THE BOARD, TO LISTEN TO HIS IDEAS. AND IN FACT, I ACTUALLY FLEW BACK FROM A TRIP TO MEET WITH HIM WITH OUR NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAIN JOHN JONES. SO WE'RE WILLING TO LISTEN. WE'RE OPEN BUT WE WEREN'T REALLY WILLING TO, AND THE BOARD WASNT WILLING TO EXTEND THE DEADLINE FOR OUR NOMINATIONS.

FABER: AND WHY NOT? THIS MAY BE A SIDE SHOW, AND I WANT TO TALK MORE ABOUT THE FUNDAMENTALS, BUT THERES BEEN A LOT OF BACK AND FORTH. YOU GUYS SAID HE WANTED 30-45 DAYS. BILL TOLD ME, "WELL I REALLY ONLY WANTED A WEEK. AND THEN MAYBE ANOTHER WEEK IF WE DIDN'T GET TO DISCUSS WHAT I WANTED TO DISCUSS. "

RODRIGUEZ: WELL, ACTUALLY HAVE THE E-MAIL HERE IN MY POCKET WHICH I CAN GET TO YOU IF YOU WANT SO YOU CAN SEE IT LATER, IT SHOWS HIS REQUEST FOR 30 TO 45 DAYS.

FABER: I HAD REVIEWED THAT HE MAIL, HE SAID THE E-MAIL FOLLOWING THE THURSDAY FOLLOWING IT, THAT HE THEN REVISED HIS REQUEST TO ONLY A WEEK.

RODRIGUEZ: SO HE DIDNT REVISE IT IN WRITING. FIRST TIME HE ASKED 30 DAYS. THEN HE SENT ME AN E-MAIL ASKING FOR 30 TO 45 DAYS. THEN I THINK AS HE BECAME MORE DESPERATE TOWARDS THE END OF THE DISCUSSIONS WE WERE HAVING WITH THEM ABOUT THE EXTENSION - WHICH WE HAD DENIED ALREADY AFTER HAVING A BOARD MEETING, HE SAID HE REALLY WANTED A WEEK BUT THEN HE SAID HE MIGHT NEED MORE TIME AFTER THAT SO IT WOULD BE A SHAME IF HE DIDN'T GET MORE TIME BECAUSE THEND HE WOULD HAVE TO COME BACK TO ASK FOR ANOTHER EXTENSION. AND I THINK THE REAL QUESTION I GUESS IS WHY DOES HE NEED AN EXTENSION? O WHY DID HE NEED AN EXTENSION? NOT HOW LONG IS THE EXTENSION, OR WHAT DID HE ASK FOR OR NOT ASK FOR? BECAUSE IT KIND OF REMINDS ME OF A SPOILED BRAT IN SCHOOL ASKING THE TEACHER FOR AN EXTENSION FOR THEIR HOMEWORK. IT'S JUST REALLY NOT –

FABER: SO YOU DON'T THINK HE WAS PREPARED, IN A SENSE.

RODRIGUEZ: WELL LET ME TELL YOU THIS, I'VE BEEN THE CEO NOW FOR ALMOST SIX YEARS. I'VE HAD CLOSE TO 30 BOARD MEETINGS, 24 QUARTERLY CALLS, 10 K's, 10 Q's, AND I'VE NEVER ASKED ANYBODY FOR AN EXTENSION. IF YOU WANT TO BE ON OUR BOARD, OUR BOARD, AS FAR AS I KNOW IN SIX YEARS I'VE BEEN CEO, HAS NEVER ASKED FOR AN EXTENSION. THEY SHOW UP ON TIME AND THEY SHOW UP PREPARED.

FABER: YOU SAID NO.

RODRIGUEZ: THE BOARD SAID NO. NOT ME.

FABER: EXCUSE ME. THE BOARD DID. AND THAT IS MY UNDERSTANDING AS WELL OF COURSE. THE BOARD SAID NO. NOW, DID ACKMAN MAKE IT CLEAR HE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD BE REPLACED?

RODRIGUEZ: HE DID. FIRST TIME I SPOKE TO HIM, HE WAS QUITE CORDIAL AND MENTIONED TO ME THAT HE THOUGHT I NEEDED TO BE REPLACED. HE GAVE ME A SERIES OF REASONS WHY. FRANKLY IT WAS A LITTLE BIT OF SURREAL EXPERIENCE. I'VE NEVER HAD ANYONE CALL ME WHO I DON'T KNOW AND DON'T TALK TO. I'VE MET HIM I THINK ONCE 31 YEARS AGO BACK IN COLLEGE. I THINK HE'S BEEN SAYING THAT WE'RE CLOSE FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES AND SO FORTH. I'M HONESTLY NOT IN HIS HOLIDAY GREETING CARD LIST AS FAR AS I CAN TELL. SO, YOU KNOW, THE WHOLE THING HAS BEEN BAFFLING AND A SURREAL EXPERIENCE FOR SOMEONE TO SAY I NEED TO BE REPLACED. I THINK NOW HE'S CHANGED HIS STORIES MULTIPLE TIMES WHEN I SPOKE TO HIM THE LAST TIME JOHN JONES AND I MET WITH HIM, HE TOLD ME HE THOUGHT I HAD SAVED THE COMPANY AFTER DECADES OF NEGLECT. NOW ALSO SENDING E-MAILS TO OTHER PEOPLE SAYING I DESTROYED THE COMPANY OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS. NOW HIS PRESS RELEASE SAYS HE'S NOT LOOKING TO OUST ME. WHAT IT FEELS LIKE IS IM NEGOTIATING WITH SOMEONE ABOUT BUYING A USED CAR. THIS IS NOT A USED CAR THIS IS A COMPANY THAT HAS 58,000 EMPLOYEES, $50 BILLION MARKET CAP AND A LOT OF SHAREHOLDERS WE HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TOWARDS.

FABER: RIGH. HE TELLS ME HE WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION TO A CERTAIN EXTENT THAT YOU WERE GOING TO BE EXITING THE COMPANY WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR OR TWO AND WOULD YOU REALLY BE UP FOR THE KIND OF CHANGES THAT HE IS GOING TO BE ADVOCATING WHEN WE HEAR FROM HIM NEXT THURSDAY.

RODRIGUEZ: WELL, HE MIGHT HAVE MENTIONED THAT TO ME THE FIRST TIME HE SPOKE TO ME OR IN THE E-MAIL HE SENT. FIRST OF ALL, IT'S NOT CORRECT OR ACCURATE. I THINK HES GETTING HIS INFORMATION FROM DISGRUNTLED EX-EMPLOYEES. IN FACT, HE SAID HE'S SPOKEN WITH 85 FORMER EXECUTIVES FROM ADP. AT THE SAME TIME HES SAYING THATC OMPANY IS INSOLAR AND SOMEHOW PEOPLE STICK AROUND FOREVER AND THE PEOPLE THAT WORK FOR ME HAVE BEEN AROUND THE COMPANY FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. WHAT HE'S NOT AWARE OF IS MY TEAM IS ALMOST ENTIRELY NEW FROM THE TIME I BECAME CEO. AND HE ALSO MAYBE SHOULD THINK ABOUT THE FACT IF HE'S TALKING TO 85 FORMER EXECUTIVES, MAYBE WE HAVE A FAIR AMOUNT OF TURNOVER IN OUR EXECUTIVE RANKS AND HAVE A LOT OF NEW PEOPLE IN THE COMPANY NOW.

FABER: LET'S TALK FUNDAMENTALS. AGAIN WE DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT ACKMAN IS GOING TO ADVOCATE WHEN HE STARTS PUSHING HIS SLATE OF CANDIDATES NEXT THURSDAY AS WE KNOW HE'S GOING TO. BUT CERTAINLY ONE PART OF HIS ARGUMENT IS GOING TO BE THAT AMONGST YOUR PEER GROUP BROADLY DEFINED YOU HAVE THE LARGEST MARGINS. AND THAT OVER TIME WHILE YOU HAVE DONE VERY WELL AND YOUR CUSTOMER BASE IS INCREASED, YOUR EMPLOYEE BASE HAS INCREASED EVEN MORE QUICKLY THAN YOUR REVENUE GROWTH. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

RODRIGUEZ: I THINK I'M PROBABLY MORE AWARE OF WHAT OUR EMPLOYEE GROWTH HAS DONE AND WHAT OUR REVENUE GROWTH HAS DONE THAN BILL. ALTHOUGH I'M A LITTLE SURPRISED THAT HE'S SAYING THAT BECAUSE IT'S ACTUALLY NOT ACCURATE, OUR EMPLOYEE GROWTH HAS GROWN SLOWER EVERY YEAR SINCE IVE BEEN CEO AT ABOUT HALF THE RATE OF REVENUE GROWTH.

FABER: REALLY BECAUSE HE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT 5 YEARS, 48%, 50% INCREASE IN EMPLOYEES. THAT'S NOT TRUE?

RODRIGUEZ: THAT'S NOT TRUE. I'M NOT SURE WHERE HE GETS HIS INFORMATION FROM SINCE ITS ALL PUBLICALY AVAILABLE. SO HE MAY BE DELLEGATING A LOT OF HIS WORK. YOU KNOW FOR MAYBE YEARS AGO WHEN HE USED TO ROLL UP HIS SLEEVES AND DO HIS OWN RESEARCH HE MAY BE RELYING ON OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING UP WITH INACCURATE INFORMATION.

FABER: WELL YOU KNOW, HE SAID HE SPENT SIX MONTHS RESEARCHING THE COMPANY. AS YOU POINTED OUT TALKING TO 85 EXECUTIVES. ARE YOU IMPLYING HE DOESNT KNOW WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT?

RODRIGUEZ: ACTUALLY, I'M DIRECTLY SAYING HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT.

FABER: WHY DOESN'T HE?

RODRIGUEZ: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, MOST OF THE INFORMATION HE'S GOTTEN APPEARS TO BE COMING FROM DISGRUNTLED EX-EMPLOYEES. A LOT OF THE INFORMATION WE HAVE AVAILABLE PUBLICLY HE HASNT AVAILED HIMSELF OF, SO AS AN EXAMPLE, THE QUESTION YOU HAVE ABOUT MARGINS – WE HAVE A VERY LARGE PEO BUSINESS THAT HAS A LOT OF PASSIVE REVENUES –

FABER: -- PEO STANDING FOR?

RODRIGUEZ: PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYER ORGANIZATION. AND IT'S A SIMPLE MATHEMATICAL ISSUE WHERE IT'S A GREAT BUSINESS, BECAUSE ALL OF OUR BUSINESSES ARE LOW CAPITAL INTENSITY SO THEY HAVE VERY HIGH RETURNS REGARDLESS OF THE PERCENTAGE MARGIN. BUT HE -- IF HE HAD DONE HIS RESEARCH, HE WOULD REALIZE THAT IS ONE OF THE REASONS WE HAVE A LOWER MARGIN THAN SOME OF OUR –

FABER: PAYCHEX IS THE ONE EVERYONE WANTS TO CHOOSE. AND THERE ARE MARGINS OF SOMETHING LIKE 44.7% OVER THE LAST LETS CALL IT FIVE YEARS. YOURS ARE 21%.

RODRIGUEZ: YEAH. BY THE WAY, WE HAVE A LOT OF RESPECT FOR PAYCHEX. THEY'RE A GREAT COMPETITOR THEYRE JUST A DIFFERENT COMPANY THAN US. THEY'RE A QUARTER OF OUR SIZE. THEY OFFER MOSTLY IN THE SMALL BUSINESS SEGMENT WE HAVE INTERNATIONALOPERATIONS, WE HAVE OPERATIONS ALSO IN THE NATIONAL ACCOUNTS SEGMENTS WITH LARGE CLIENTS. IT'S A STRUCTURALLY DIFFERENT BUSINESS THEY ALSO ACCOUNT FOR THEIR PEO BUSINESS DIFFERENT THAN WE DO FOR SOME REASON. BUT WE BELIEVE THAT WE ARE COUNTING FOR OUR PEO REVENUES THE RIGHT WAY. AND THOSE PASSIVES REALLY ARE CAUSING PRESSURE ON OUR MARGIN BUT IT DOESNT TAKE AWAY FROM THE FACT ITS SILL A HIGH RETURN BUSINESS WE LOVE THAT BUSINESS AND IT'S PROFITABLE AND ITS GREAT FOR OUR SHAREHOLDERS.

FABER: RIGHT YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE OF THESE OVERRIDING QUESTIONS IS GOING TO BE ARE YOU OVERCOMING SHORTCOMINGS IN YOUR PRODUCT WITH PEOPLE? ARE YOU SIMPLY FILLING IN GAPS BY HIRING MORE PEOPLE OPPOSED TO REALLY MAKING THE MOVES YOU NEED TO COMPETE IN THE 21st CENTURY WHEN IT COMES TO TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE?

RODRIGUEZ: I THINK AGAIN IT'S A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF OUR BUSINESS WHICH HE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE GOTTEN HAD HE APPROACHED US IN A DIFFERENT WAY TO TALK ABOUT OUR BUSINESS.

FABER: WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT WAY THEN?

RODRIGUEZ: WELL ONE APPROACH WOULD HAVE BEEN TO JUST CONTACT US AND SAY, "I HAVE SOME IDEAS I WANT TO TALK ABOUT. I'VE EITHER INVESTED IN YOUR COMPANY OR I'M PLANNING ON INVESTING IN YOUR COMPANY. " INSTEAD OF THREATENING US AND SENDING ME VIDEO OF HIMSELF, IN THE CANADIAN PACIFIC SITUATION, INDICATING SPECIFIC SITUATIONS AND TELLING ME THAT IF I DONT EXCEED TO HIS DEMANDS FOR AN EXTENSION, THAT HE'S GOING TO EMBARRASS ME AND HUMILIATE ME BECAUSE HE HAS SUCH A HUGE MEDIA FOLLOWING.

FABER HE SEEMED TO HOPE IT WENT THE WAY IT WENT FOR HIM AND CHIPOTLE AND IN AIR PRODUCTS AS WELL. WHERE THERE WAS A MEETING FOLLOWED BY THE ABILITY TO PUT SOME BOARD MEMBERS ON.

RODRIGUEZ: WELL, I THINK THE DIFFERENCE THERE, I DON'T KNOW IF THERE WAS A REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF THEIR DEADLINE BUT THAT'S REALLY WHAT CAUSED THE PROBLEM HERE IS THAT APPARENTLY HE WAS EITHER NOT PREPARED OR IT'S ALSO POSSIBLE THAT HE DID MENTION THAT HE HAD VACATION PLANS THAT HE COULDN'T DISRUPT WHICH IS WHY HE NEEDED THE EXTENSION. SO IT COULD BE THAT HIS VACATION PLANS WERE TOO IMPORTANT FOR HIM TO BE WILLING TO MEET WITH THE BOARD WHICH WE OFFERED/ SO JOHN JONES AND I OFFERED TO HAVE HIM MEET WITH THE BOARD SO HE COULD SHARE HIS IDEAS. HE ALSO TOLD US THAT EVEN IF HE COULD AND HE COULDN'T BECAUSE HE HAD A VACATION, HE JUST SIMPLY WASN'T READY. HE DIDN'T HAVE HIS PRESENTATION READY. AGAIN, DIDN'T DO HIS HOMEWORK NOT SURE WHY HE WANTED THE TEACHER TO GIVE HIM AN EXTENSION.

FABER: AND HIS CONTENTION BEING, WHEN HE SAID HE WANTED YOU REPLACED THAT YOU WOULD OPPOSE HIM?

RODRIGUEZ: I ACTUALLY DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT -- IF THAT'S THE CASE YOU'D HAVE TO ASK HIM. I CAN TELL YOU THAT I THINK OUR BOARD FEELS THAT, YOU KNOW, GIVEN THE TRACK RECORD THAT WE HAVE AS A COMPANY AND GIVEN HIS TRACK RECORD AND SPECIFICALLY ON CEO REPLACEMENT, HIS TRACK RECORD AT JC PENNY AND THE DECISIONS HE MADE THERE --- BRINGING IN HIS HAND PICKED CEO WHO COMPLETELY DESTROYED THE COMPANY -- PROBABLY WOULD MAKE US THINK TWICE ABOUT WANTING TO LISTEN TO BILL ACKMAN'S ADVICE. BUT HE'S A LARGE SHAREHOLDER AND WE'RE OPEN TO LISTENING TO HIM, WE OFFERED TO HAVE A MEETING WITH HIM. IN FACT, THINK AT THIS VERY MOMENT WERE SCHEDULING A GET TOGETHER WITH HIM IN EARLY SEPTEMBER.

FABER: YOU ARE?

RODRIGUEZ: YEAH.

FABER: WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN THERE? WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS? IT'S CLEAR THAT YOU'RE -- AND THIS IS NOT ALWAYS TYPICAL, YOURE WILLING TO BE COMBATIVE HERE YOU'RE COMING OUT STRONGLY AGAINST HIM. WHY BOTHER AT THIS POINT EVEN MEETING WITH HIM?

RODRIGUEZ: HE'S A LARGE SHAREHOLDER, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, WE ARE AN OPEN COMPANY. AND AN OPEN BOARD. WE'RE WILLING TO LISTEN TO ANY IDEAS. FRANKLY WE HAVEN'T HEARD ANY IDEAS YET BECAUSE HE WASNT READY TO SHARE HIS IDEAS. BUT SHOULD HE HAVE COME UP WITH SOMETHING OR STUMBLED ON SOME KIND OF IDEA THAT WOULD ENHANCE THE VALUE OF ADP, OF COURSE WE'RE GOING TO LISTEN TO HIM.

FABER: AND WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ADP? WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE STRONGEST LEG YOU CAN STAND ON TO COMBAT WHAT WE STILL DON'T KNOW BUT IS GOING TO BE CERTAINLY GIVEN HIS HISTORY A VERY LONG PRESENTATION NEXT THURSDAY WITH ALL SORTS OF DIFFERENT SLIDES?

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s GET EXCITED ABOUT THIS STUFF, BUT ADP IS ONE OF THE DIVIDEND ARISTOCRATS. WHICH IS , AS YOU KNOW, A GROUP OF COMPANIES THAT HAVE BEEN INCREASING AND PAYING A DIVIDEND FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS SO ADP HAS BEEN DOING THAT FOR 42 YEARS. AND IF BILL ACKMAN LEAVES US ALONE, WE INTEND TO GET TO 50 YEARS WHICH WOULD PUT US IN A LIST OF COMPANIES THAT'S ONLY ABOUT 25 COMPANIES.

FABER: ALL RIGHT. WHAT IF HE SAYS, "HOW ABOUT JUST ONE DIRECTOR." WOULDN'T YOU JUST TAKE ONE?

RODRIGUEZ: AS YOU KNOW, THAT'S UP TO THE -- FIRST OF ALL -- NOMINATING GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE THAT WE HAVE WILL MAKE DECISION ON WHAT IT RECOMMENDS FOR ELECTION. AND THEN THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS IS GOING TO I THINK MAKE THE FINAL DECISION ON WHAT OUR SLATE IS. AND THEN THE WAY IT WORKS, AND THE WAY IT SHOULD WORK, IS THE SHAREHOLDERS WILL DECIDE WHO THE NEXT BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR ADP WILL BE.

FABER: WE CERTAINLY APPRECIATE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO TAKE SOME TIME WITH US THIS MORNING.

RODRIGUEZ: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

FABER: YOU'RE WELCOME. CARLOS RODRIGUEZ IS THE CEO OF ADP. OF COURSE, SARA, WE REACHED OUT TO ACKMAN WE'LL SEE WHETHER HE JOINS US AGAIN SOME POINT IN THE FUTURE, BACK TO YOU SARA.

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