Platform Shakes Up Management After Sale of Its Agriculture Unit

(Bloomberg) -- Platform Specialty Products Corp., the chemical company backed by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, is shaking up its management team as it looks to expand after selling its Arysta LifeScience agricultural division. Its shares fell.

Platform, founded by serial deal-maker Martin E. Franklin, has appointed Benjamin Gliklich as chief executive officer, replacing Rakesh Sachdev, who is retiring but will stay on as a non-executive director, the company said in a statement on Monday, confirming a Bloomberg News report. Franklin, meanwhile, will assume the role of executive chairman.

Scot Benson, who was head of the performance solutions business, has been promoted to president and chief operating officer.

Platform fell about 5 percent to $10.52 per share at 9:35 a.m. in New York trading, giving the West Palm Beach, Florida-based company a market value of about $3 billion.

The company, which will be renamed Element Solutions, intends to use proceeds from Arysta’s $4.2 billion sale to Indian chemical giant UPL Ltd. to reduce debt and fund share buybacks and small acquisitions, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because the plans are private.

Gliklich, who was most recently executive vice president of operations and strategy at Platform, will focus on expanding Element’s operations in its key end-market industries: automotive, electronics, offshore drilling and graphics.

The decision to elevate 34-year-old Gliklich to the top job reflects the West Palm Beach, Florida-based company’s need to refocus after shedding the agricultural business.

Franklin is also a director of Restaurant Brands International Inc., the owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons, and Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management is also that company’s largest shareholder as of Sept. 30, according to a regulatory filing. Under the stewardship of 38-year-old CEO Daniel Schwartz, Restaurant Brands shares have rallied more than 80 percent over the last three years. The company announced last week that it had named a new CEO and Schwartz was becoming executive chairman.

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