1911 Fin Sparre

Fin Sparre (1879-1944) was a guiding force behind DuPont's post-World War I diversification program. Born in Bergen, Norway, Sparre earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and engineering at the Technical College of Oslo, then undertook graduate-level training at the Technical College of Dresden, Germany, before taking a position at the Norwegian government's powder and munitions plant. He immigrated to America in 1903 and joined DuPont as a chemist at the company's newly established Experimental Station research laboratory.Show more
 

A charter member of the Experimental Station, Sparre soon earned a reputation as an outstanding scientist and a competent manager. He became the laboratory's chief chemist in 1910 and its director only a year later.

 

Sparre acquired a keen interest in diversification during DuPont's early 20th century efforts to expand its product lines beyond explosives into chemistry, dyes and synthetic materials like cellophane and rayon. He returned from an extended tour of Europe in 1909 firmly convinced that the key to DuPont's future lay in diversified nitrocellulose-based chemical products and technology. Following his appointment in 1919 as the Director of the Development Department, Sparre became DuPont's chief diversification strategist. His focus on growth through selective acquisitions of specialized companies and technologies contributed significantly to the company's rapid evolution into a broad-based chemical company. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1930 and served on numerous government and academic committees dealing with scientific achievement. Sparre retired from the Development Department in August 1944 but remained on the Board of Directors until his death in October of that year.