September 23, 2008

DuPont Getting First Female CEO

Ellen J. Kullman was named Tuesday as the next chief executive officer of DuPont Co., the first woman to lead the U.S. chemical and bioscience giant.

Kullman, 52, the Delaware company's current executive vice president, will succeed Charles O. Holliday Jr. at the start of the new year, The Daily Journal in Wilmington, Del., reported. She will take on the duties of president and director Oct. 1.

Kullman indicated there would be no sharp turns in the company's direction, saying the challenge facing DuPont is to build on its scientific research and "really see how that foundation of science can lead to opportunities."

"I need to own it and I need to drive it," said Kullman, the 19th executive to lead DuPont in its 206 years of existence.

DuPont's board voted unanimously to name Kullman leader of its 60,000-strong workforce, the newspaper said.

Holliday, 60, who will serve as chairman, noted he has served twice as long as the average of several predecessors.

"I just believe very strongly that it's important to rotate, to give the next series of managers an opportunity to make improvements to what we have in place," he said. "That pattern just seems to work very well for us."