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UPDATE 1-Corteva agrees to appoint 3 Starboard-backed directors

(Adds background, details from statement)

March 19 (Reuters) - Corteva Inc said on Friday it had agreed to appoint three new independent directors backed by activist investor Starboard Value LP, which had earlier sought to oust the company’s chief executive officer.

Corteva said David Everitt, Janet Giesselman, and Kerry Preete will join its board, effective immediately.

Starboard had in January nominated eight directors to the board of Corteva, seeking to oust CEO James Collins and take control of the pesticide and seed maker.

The hedge fund, led by Jefferey Smith, had last year criticized Corteva’s financial performance, noting its cash flow margin lagged behind peers and its share price could be higher.

Corteva said it had also added Karen Grimes, a former partner at Wellington Management Group, to its board as an independent director.

As a result of the agreement, Starboard will withdraw its director nominations previously submitted to Corteva and will support the board’s full slate of directors, the Wilmington, Delaware-based company said. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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