After seven years leading the global industrial giant, Ellen Kullman will retire from DuPont effective October 16.
The retirement announcement came late Monday afternoon in a statement posted on DuPont’s website. In her statement, Kullman said, “Now is the right time for a new leader to continue to drive the pace of change to capitalize fully on the opportunity ahead.”
The announcement caps a turbulent year for Kullman at the head of the Wilmington-based company. In the spring, the company fought off a proxy fight from billionaire investor Nelson Peltz. This year also saw DuPont’s performance chemical unit spun off to become Chemours. DuPont also sold its downtown Wilmington theater and announced plans to put the ritzy DuPont Hotel on the market as well.
Kullman has overseen other big changes designed to better focus DuPont on its core businesses. “Over the past seven years, with the dedication of our entire team, we have transformed this great company by focusing our portfolio, streamlining the organization, and driving innovation that leverages our unique science and engineering capabilities,” Kullman said.
While a search for Kullman’s permanent placement is underway, Ed Breen will assume the role of interim CEO. Breen is currently a member of the company’s board of directors. “Looking ahead, we will continue to drive productivity, and we plan to conduct a deep dive into the details of our cost structure and allocation of capital to ensure we deliver appropriate returns for shareholders,” Breen said in a statement.
Since its founding in Delaware more than 200 years ago, DuPont has been the hallmark Delaware business, employing tens of thousands of Delawareans. While that impact on the state and the state’s workforce has diminished in recent decades, DuPont remains a major player in the state’s economy and business community.