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3M investor raises concerns about company leadership

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One of 3M Co.’s
 largest investors has raised concerns about Chief Executive Mike Roman‘s leadership and questioned whether a change may be needed at the top of the manufacturing giant.

In a letter to Mr. Roman dated Jan. 28, Bert Flossbach, the co-founder and senior portfolio manager of German mutual-fund firm Flossbach von Storch AG, said 3M’s revenue and earnings have been disappointing since Mr. Roman became CEO in 2018, citing a total shareholder return of negative 32% during that time, compared with a 62% gain in the S&P 500.

“We are in regular discussions with our shareholders and we always welcome their feedback,” a 3M spokesperson said in a statement.

Minnesota-based 3M has been grappling with litigation over military earplugs and the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, and its share price has dropped about 28% over the past 12 months. Mr. Flossbach said he was primarily concerned with 3M’s operations, versus the litigation.

The company last month reported a quarterly profit of $541 million, or 98 cents a share, compared with $1.34 billion, or $2.31 a share, a year earlier. The company projected that its sales in 2023 would fall between 6% and 2%, and forecast adjusted earnings of $8.50 a share to $9 a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast the company to earn $10.22 for the year.

An expanded version of this story appears on

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