Activist Bluebell calls for Solvay board to oust CEO – letter

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Belgian chemical group Solvay is seen at its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

By Valentina Za and Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) – Activist Bluebell Capital Partners has urged Belgian chemicals company Solvay (BR:) to replace Chief Executive Ilham Kadri because it said she had failed to stop the discharge of “chemical waste” from an Italian plant into the sea.

The move is part of Bluebell’s ‘One-Share’ campaign aimed at creating change at companies it says are falling short on environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) issues, and is part of a growing trend among activists to target companies over ESG.

Unlike with Bluebell’s recent successful attempt to remove the boss of French food group Danone, which it profited from, the Solvay campaign is effectively being done pro bono in the hope other sustainability focused investors join in.

Bluebell began engaging with Solvay in September 2020 over the damage it says is being caused by the dumping of soda-ash from Solvay’s Rosignano factory into the sea, but said Kadri had been in “total denial” over the environmental and social impact.

In response, Solvay’s Chairman Nicolas Boël said in a statement that Kadri had the board’s “full support”.

“Since her appointment in 2019, she has taken decisive action to shape the company’s strategy and align its portfolio with powerful sustainability trends, while also implementing an ambitious new sustainability program, Solvay One Planet. As a result, Solvay is delivering on its commitment to create value for shareholders, customers and all stakeholders.”

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