One of the world's largest chemical companies will have a new top executive Jan. 1, when Ellen Kullman replaces Charles Holliday Jr. at DuPont Co.
Kullman, a 20-year-DuPont veteran, will become chief executive officer of Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont on that date. She'll be the 19th CEO and the first female CEO in DuPont's 206-year history.
Kullman, 52, currently serves as an executive vice president with the firm, and is a member of the office of the chief executive. In that role, she has responsibility for four of DuPont's five business segments. Kullman will assume the title of president and will become a director of the company Oct. 1.
Holliday, 60, has held the top spot at DuPont since 1998. The 38-year company veteran will remain chairman for a short time until Kullman assumes that position as well, officials said in a Sept. 23 news release.
``Ellen is ready to lead DuPont's market-driven strategy for faster growth,'' Holliday said in the release. ``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 led DuPont's Safety & Protection segment from 2002-06. The unit's annual sales grew from $3.5 billion to $5.5 billion during that time.
In a Sept. 23 note to investors, Banc of America Securities stock analyst Kevin McCarthy said DuPont ``appears likely to stay the course'' through the leadership transition, focusing on productivity, margin expansion and biotechnology for agriculture, energy and industrial applications.
DuPont ranks as the world's largest producer of nylon resin and is a leading maker of other engineering resins. Its performance materials unit including nylon and other plastics posted sales of $3.5 billion in the first half of 2008, ranking second among the firm's five segments.
First-half performance materials sales were up almost 8 percent vs. 2007, while pretax profit increased 17 percent to $442 million. The unit accounted for 20 percent of DuPont's first-half sales in 2008.