The Midland, Mich., company said it cashiered Pedro Reinhard, a senior adviser and member of the board, and Romeo Kreinberg, who is identified on Dow's Web site as executive vice president for the performance plastics and chemicals portfolio.
Dow said it learned Tuesday that the two "were involved in unauthorized discussions with third parties about the potential acquisition of the company." Management told the board Wednesday and fired the two, with board support, Thursday.
The news comes as rumors of a Dow buyout have swept the market. Shares of the company surged 5% in heavy trading Monday following an unattributed report in a U.K. paper saying a $50 billion buyout of the chemical titan was in the works. Dow said later that day it hadn't had any talks.
Kreinberg's firing comes just a month after he was tapped for a newly formed executive leadership committee that includes CEO Andrew Liveris, finance chief Geoffrey Merszei and two others.
A woman answering the phone at Kreinberg's home in Midland said he didn't want to talk. An attempt to reach Reinhard wasn't successful.
Shares rose 96 cents early Thursday to $46.05.