Midland, Michigan-The Dow Chemical Co. has sacked two senior managers - one a member of its board of directors and the other recently given extra executive management responsibilities - for being "engaged in business activity that was highly inappropriate and a clear violation of Dow's Code of Business Conduct." Pedro Reinhard, a senior advisor and member of Dow's Board of Directors, and Romeo Kreinberg, formerly executive vice president of its performance businesses, "were involved in unauthorized discussions with third parties about the potential acquisition of the Company," said Dow, in a blunt statement issued 12 April. No specifics of the activities of the two men were discussed by Dow, but the move came after continuing speculation that Dow is to be the subject of a leveraged buy-out, which the firm has denied. And, in late February, two Indian newspapers reported a possible merger of some of Dow's activities with those of a major Indian conglomerate, which Dow refused to comment upon. The move came just weeks after Kreinberg had been appointed to a five-strong executive leadership committee, under a 19 March reorganisation of Dow's management structure. This was one of a series of changes aimed at giving senior managers more autonomy. Dow says it took swift action: "Information about the misconduct was first disclosed to Dow on Tuesday, April 10; the Board of Directors was informed on Wednesday, April 11; and the employees were terminated this morning with full support of the Board," the statement added. "The values of integrity and respect for people are at the very core of our company," said Andrew Liveris, Dow's chairman and CEO, adding, "I think I speak for all employees when I say we are greatly saddened by the disrespect shown by our former colleagues." Reports in Economic Times and The Times of India in late February said that Dow was preparing to merge some of its plastics and petroleum assets with Reliance Industries Ltd, an Indian conglomerate headquartered in Mumbai. Although its share price rose 6 percent on 15 March as a result of the rumours - reaching $45.10 per share on 16 March, as against $40 at the beginning of the year - Dow spokesman Andrew Wood said at the time that the firm does not comment on rumours. * Separately, on 10 April, Dow said it had signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding relating to the formation of a polystyrene and styrene monomer joint venture with Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP. This would apply only in the Americas, the Dow statement said, adding that the new venture is subject to customary regulatory review, due diligence, completion of definitive agreements, and corporate and other approvals. Upon the necessary approvals, the parties would expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2007, the statement added. Frank Esposito of Plastics News contributed to this item."