DuPont today announced that its board of directors has elected Ellen J. Kullman, 52, president and a director of the company effective Oct. 1 and chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2009. Charles O. Holliday, Jr., 60, chairman and CEO, will serve as chairman of DuPont and as a member of the board until Kullman’s expected succession as chairman.
“During the past 10 years, I have had the unique privilege of leading DuPont’s transformation to a market-driven science company that leads the way in solving some of the most difficult and pressing human needs in a resource-constrained world,” Holliday said. “Having transformed the company, increased our profitability and returns, and developed a talented and strong next generation of leaders, now is the right time to make a seamless transition to new leadership.
“Ellen is ready to lead DuPont’s market-driven strategy for faster growth,” Holliday added. “By appointing Ellen now as president, she will define DuPont’s detailed 2009 execution plans that will make a solid advance toward achieving our 2010 accelerated growth goals.”
Kullman is the 19th executive to lead the company in DuPont’s 206-year history. Since June 2006, she has served as an executive vice president and a member of the company’s office of the chief executive, with responsibility for four of DuPont’s five business segments and its Marketing & Sales and Environmental Sustainability functions. From February 2002 to June 2006 as group vice president of the then-newly formed DuPont Safety & Protection segment, Kullman led revenue growth from $3.5 billion to $5.5 billion. She joined the company in 1988 from General Electric.
"Ellen’s strong track record, market focus and leadership skills were the basis for the board’s decision that she is the right person to lead our exceptionally talented management team and 60,000-strong global work force into DuPont’s bright future,” Holliday said.
“Ellen built what has become our highest-earning business segment, Safety & Protection, by assuring that we harnessed the power of our science to meet customer needs. She has thrived in DuPont’s transformation to a market-driven science company, she has been an important force in linking our science to our customers’ needs, and she has been instrumental to our strong emerging markets expansion.
“I am excited to partner with Ellen as chairman through what I expect will be a very smooth and relatively brief transition,” Holliday added. “I look forward to watching in the years ahead as DuPont prospers while addressing critical world needs such as improving agriculture productivity, providing alternative energy sources, and protecting people and structures.”
Holliday, a 38-year DuPont veteran, has led the company as CEO since February 1998. During his 10-year tenure:
- DuPont completed over $60 billion in strategic transactions that transformed it to a value-added, science-based products and services company. Since completing these transactions in 2004, pre-tax operating margin has improved 2 percentage points and return on investors’ capital has increased 5 percentage points and earnings per share has grown by an annual rate of 11 percent.
- DuPont introduced its newest technology platform, Applied BioSciences, to focus on commercialization of renewably sourced BioMaterials, BioFuels, BioSpecialties, and BioMedical solutions for an energy- and resource-constrained world.
- In 2007, DuPont sales from new products accounted for 36 percent of the company’s sales, up from 24 percent in 2001. New product sales grew more than $5 billion over five years, with more than $10 billion of sales from products introduced in the last five years.
- Since November 2005, DuPont delivered $1 billion in fixed cost productivity savings, and repurchased $5 billion, or 12 percent, of its outstanding common stock.
- Holliday introduced to industry the goal of “sustainable growth,” leading DuPont in building sustainability as central to its total value proposition and fully integrated into business models. Now as a globally recognized leader, DuPont has built sustainability into its products and operations -- impacting customers, value chains and consumers while also dramatically reducing the company’s environmental footprint.
- DuPont further demonstrated its confidence that it is positioned for higher growth by adopting earlier this year a new peer group of global high technology companies against which its management and board will benchmark performance. The new peer group generates more than double the earnings growth rate compared to DuPont’s prior peer group.
During 2008, DuPont has continued to execute on its sustainable growth strategy and on its plans to achieve its targeted 2010 financial goals. Despite historically high commodity prices and difficult U.S. markets, DuPont’s positioning as a market-driven science company enabled it to achieve record earnings for the first half of 2008 on the strength of its Agriculture & Nutrition segment and its growth in emerging markets.
"I am fortunate to have been able to work at DuPont and join so many dedicated people in making a contribution to the company and to the people and communities we serve around the world,” Holliday said. “I have loved leading DuPont. Now is the time for a new generation of talented leadership to advance the company forward on its mission of sustainable growth.”
Kullman added, “I am honored to have been selected by the board of directors to lead DuPont into its next phase of accelerated growth. We have a renowned science capability, a rich pipeline of new products, the right productivity mindset and terrific market opportunities. We will build on our momentum and drive earnings growth by continuing on our mission to solve challenging global problems and achieve our financial commitments, including our 2010 growth goals. I look forward to working with the exceptional people of DuPont to serve our customers and communities and to reward our shareholders.”
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.