In a surprise move, Klaus Kleinfeld has stepped down as chair and CEO of Arconic and resigned from the company’s board after he displayed “poor judgment,” Arconic announced on Monday.
Shares of the aluminum, titanium, and nickel products manufacturer were last 9 percent higher following the news.
Arconic said Kleinfeld’s departure was not in response to the proxy fight Paul Singer’s Elliott Management launched or to the activist investor’s criticisms of Arconic and lobbying for it to replace Kleinfeld.
“Mr. Kleinfeld stepped down as Chair and CEO by mutual agreement after the Board learned that, without consultation with or authorization by the Board, he had sent a letter directly to a senior officer of Elliott Management that the Board determined showed poor judgment,” according to the release.
Current board member David Hess has been appointed as the interim CEO, and Patricia Russo has been appointed the board’s interim chair.
Kleinfeld oversaw the split of Arconic and Alcoa.
Now that Kleinfeld has stepped down, Arconic pointed out that Elliott’s main goal has been realized and said “it is Elliott Management’s decision whether to continue to burden Arconic and its shareholders with its highly disruptive and distracting proxy fight, or to support Arconic in facilitating an effective CEO search and a strong transition.”
Arconic and Elliott did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.