FORTUNE SEPTEMBER 15, 2015
Ellen J. Kullman (born January 22, 1956) is an United States business executive. She was formerly Chair and Chief Executive Officer of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company ("DuPont") in Wilmington and is a former director of General Motors.
Ellen Kullman on Forbes Lists
#26 Power Women (2015)
#31 in 2014
At DuPont, Kullman has shown she has a knack for making things grow. In 1998, she launched a safety consulting business that, within a few years, generated hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue and today brings in annual sales of $5 billion. Since Kullman took over as CEO of DuPont in 2009, she has stressed the need for constant reinvention and has pushed the 210-year-old company—which in its first century grew rich producing gunpowder and in its second morphed into the chemicals conglomerate that pioneered neoprene, Dacron, Lycra, and Teflon—to diversify into faster-growing product areas such as high-tech seeds, photovoltaic cells, and Kevlar body armor. DuPont, Kullman insists, isn’t just an American chemicals company; it’s a market-driven global science company.
· balancing the need for immediate action to maintain the company’s financial stability during the crisis, while focusing on strategic objectives that would preserve the company’s leading market position in the future
· Motivating employees to work on the things they could control and avoid becoming paralyzed by the market’s volatility
· changing the company’s thinking about its business model, while reinforcing its 200-year-old culture of innovation
· understanding the dynamic relationship between what should not change … and what has to change — and having absolute clarity on that
Kullman’s four leadership principles:
1. Focus on what you can control
2. adopt a new trajectory by rethinking your business model
3. Communication is key
4. maintain pride around the company’s mission