3M CEO Buckley to Sell Up to 1/3 of His 3M Shares

Based on 3M's Wednesday stock closing price of $93.94, the sale of the shares would be worth $32.9 million.

3M Company CEO George Buckley will sell up to one-third of his shares in the manufacturing giant, according to a Wednesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The filing said that Buckley may sell up to 350,272 shares by July 21. Based on 3M's Wednesday stock closing price of $93.94, the sale of that many shares would be worth $32.9 million.

The sale falls under SEC rule 10b5-1, which permits company insiders to sell a fixed, predetermined portion of their holdings over a designated period by establishing a plan at a time when they don't possess non-public information about the company.

According to the filing, rule 10b5-1 allows executives to gradually diversify their investment portfolios.

Buckley's contract with Maplewood-based 3M expires in February 2012 when he'll turn 65-the company's mandatory retirement age for top executives. It's unknown whether the board will change the retirement policy to allow him to stay, and a 3M spokeswoman declined to comment on that question when asked Tuesday.

On Tuesday, 3M announced that Inge G. Thulin had been promoted to the newly created position of vice president and chief operating officer (COO)-a move that's believed to indicate that he's in line to succeed Buckley. Thulin, who has served as vice president of international operations since 2003, officially began his new role with the company on May 1.

Buckley, who has been CEO since 2005, is only the second CEO in 3M's history to be recruited from outside the company. In December, he told Bloomberg, “I'm going to stay with the company as long as the board lets me.”

Earlier this month, at the company's annual investor meeting, Buckley's response when the wife of a 3M employee urged him not to leave was: “Thank you. It's best I say nothing else.”

3M is Minnesota's fifth-largest public company based on its 2009 revenue, which totaled $23.1 billion. The company reported revenues of $26.7 billion in 2010.