Goldman names former DuPont CEO Kullman to board of directors

A sign is displayed in the reception of Goldman Sachs in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo - RTX2UOJO

By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N> named former chair and chief executive officer of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co <DD.N> Ellen Kullman to its board of directors, according to a filing made public on Thursday.

Kullman, who retired from the chemical company in 2015, becomes an independent director of the Wall Street firm effectively immediately.

Her appointment expands the Goldman board to 14 directors, 11 of whom are independent.

Kullman had served as DuPont's CEO since 2009, where she derailed an attempt by billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management to land board seats.

Goldman Sachs's activism defense team had advised DuPont, the maker of Kevlar and Teflon, in its fight against Trian. The defeat was a watershed moment for activism, illustrating that companies can successfully fend off large investors pushing for change. In recent years, many corporate boards have chosen to settle with activists rather than engage in lengthy and expensive battles.

Kullman joined DuPont in 1988 and served in a variety of roles including president and executive vice president. She also sits on the boards of Dell Technologies, Amgen Inc <AMGN.O> and United Technologies Corporation <UTX.N>.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish and Cynthia Osterman)