“We have to listen to what they have to say, and in the case of activists, one chooses not to engage at their peril,” [Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld] said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit on Tuesday.
But while activists are vocal and have strong positions, Rosenfeld added, sometimes the “nature of their holdings does not justify the loudness with which they speak” and, in many cases, they don’t know the companies they target all that well.
In the case of Peltz, Rosenfeld said that he had a great deal of experience in the consumer goods industry and that he had more operating experience than many other activists. That’s one of the reasons why the company gave him a board seat—a decision Rosenfeld has said was one of her most difficult and important. She noted that he’s been a “highly constructive” director.
When asked why there aren’t any female activists, Rosenfeld told Fortune‘s Pattie Sellers, “Women perhaps might choose to do things in a slightly less public way, and they might get them done faster.”