Peltz to put his involvement with Arby's parent at arm's length

NEW YORK Nelson Peltz plans to step down as chief executive of Arby's parent Triarc Cos. Inc. - with an exit payment of $50 million - as the company prepares to sell its lone remaining non-restaurant business later this year. But Triarc noted that Peltz and longtime lieutenants Peter May and Edward Garden would continue to be involved in Triarc's operations through their Trian Fund Management LLP, the investment concern through which the trio has invested in Wendy's International Inc. and other companies and demanded significant shifts in strategic direction.

Trian will serve as what amounts to an outsourcing firm for Triarc, providing "a range of services to be performed by all of the departing Triarc officers and employees," Triarc said in its announcement.

The new set-up would position Trian as an activist investment company with involvement in both Arby's and Wendy's. The change was disclosed following Wendy's announcement last week that it may pursue a sale or other "strategic alternative" to boost its stock price. Peltz is widely seen as potential suitor for Wendy's.

Through Trian, Peltz holds an 8.3-percent stake in Wendy’s and controls three seats on its board. He and May would continue to serve on Triarc's board under the new arrangement.

The long-time partners are expected to vacate their corporate posts at Triarc on June 29. Peltz has a standstill agreement with Wendy's that prevents him from seeking control over the concern. It expires on June 30.

The exit of Triarc's officers will coincide with the elimination of 30 of 50 positions within the company's New York offices. The remaining 20 jobs will be eliminated by the end of the year, Triarc said. The concern will be relocated to Atlanta, the home city of Arby's, and Arby's CEO Roland Smith will assume the added duties of Triarc CEO, the company said.

It stressed that the realignment would position Triarc as a "pure play" restaurant company.

Its lone non-foodservice holding, a controlling stake in the financial services concern Deerfield & Co. LLC, is scheduled to be sold to an external company called Deerfield Triarc Capital Corp. for about $300 million by September. A subsidiary of Deerfield & Co. manages Deerfield Triarc.

Peltz, who has said he formed Trian as an activist investment fund, has pressured a number of companies in which his firm holds a stake. In addition to Wendy's, those companies have included A.J. Heinz and Tiffany & Co.