Ousted Dow Chem. execs. sue for libel

May 8, 2007 at 8:18 PM
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NEW YORK, May 8 (UPI) -- Two fired senior Dow Chemical Co. executives filed lawsuits against the U.S. chemical producer Tuesday for libel and breach of contract.

Ousted board member Pedro Reinhard and fired Executive Vice President Romeo Kreinberg -- dismissed April 12 after Dow said they secretly held talks about selling the company -- denied participating in any attempt to sell Dow, and claimed their firings were part of a vendetta by Dow Chief Executive Andrew Liveris.

Kreinberg did not "shop" Dow or otherwise participate "in a conspiracy to sell or acquire the company, in whole or in part," said Kreinberg's lawsuit, filed in New York state Supreme Court.

Rather, the lawsuit said, Liveris wanted Kreinberg out because he "viewed Kreinberg as a threat" due to Kreinberg's "successful" stewardship of a key Dow division coupled with his "willingness to challenge" Liveris' opinions. This "was anathema to Liveris and his management style," the lawsuit alleged.

The lawsuit seeks damages of at least $600 million, plus punitive damages.

Reinhard's lawsuit claims Liveris saw him as a "hindrance," with Liveris using buyout rumors as an "opportunity to eliminate" Reinhard from Dow's board, the lawsuit alleged.

Dow had no comment.

The company filed a separate complaint against the two men in Bay City, Mich., seeking to recover fiduciary damages and money it claimed the pair owed the company.

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