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More signs that activist investor Nelson Peltz and his investment vehicle Trian Fund Management are turning up the heat on General Electric.

The $256bn industrial conglomerate said on Wednesday it was stepping up plans to cut costs and has made changes to executive compensations following talks with Trian.

In a regulatory filing, the company said it planned to lower its base costs from $24.9bn to $22.9bn in 2018 as part of its ongoing efforts to bolster performance.

Compensation for a number of GE’s top executives, including chief executive Jeff Immelt, has also been modified so that their 2017 bonuses will be increased or decreased based on the company’s ability to hit its financial targets.

Specifically, (1) if both the Industrial operating profit target and Industrial structural cost targets for 2017 are achieved, bonuses will be increased by 20%; (2) if neither of these targets is achieved, their bonuses will be decreased by 20%; and (3) if only one of these targets is achieved and the other one is missed, there will be no impact on their bonuses.

Trian, which first took a $2.5bn stake in the company back in October 2015, has put pressure on GE to deliver better returns.

The fund currently owns about 66.8m shares in GE, or the equivalent of an 0.8 per cent stake, making it one of the company’s top 15 shareholders.

“Over the past month, Trian has intensified its dialogue with senior management regarding new initiatives to help ensure that GE can meet its financial commitments,” said Trian in a statement. “We are pleased with the new framework that GE announced
today.”

Shares in GE rose 0.6 per cent in pre-market trading.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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