Member Insight: Ellen Kullman

13 Jan 2011

Ellen Kullman has been ranked eighth in the Financial Times' 2010 list of Women at the Top. The list highlights the achievements of the 50 most influential female business leaders from around the world, celebrating the success of women in the boardroom - still, as it points out, 'a pioneering minority'. Ellen Kullman, 54, is chair of the board and chief executive officer of chemical giant DuPont. She is the 19th executive and first woman to lead the company, having previously served as its president, as well as executive vice president and a member of the company's office of the chief executive.

As CEO, Mr Kullman has seen DuPont take on the new challenges of population growth and sustainability by seeking to increase agricultural supply through increasing crop yields and improving resistance, as well as utilising alternative energy sources. Under her leadership, the company has focused on the key areas of agriculture, safety and protection, emerging markets and cost reduction.

She has championed market-driven science and driven innovation, positioning the company closer to its customers and providing local solutions to global consumers across the company's businesses. During her time at DuPont, Ms Kullman has served as business director for several businesses, including White Pigment & Mineral Products, where she became vice president and general manager in 1995. She later assumed leadership of two high-growth businesses, DuPont Safety Resources and Bio-Based Materials, before being named group vice president - DuPont Safety & Protection in 2002.

In 2006, she was named executive vice president with responsibility for several business platforms and functions including marketing and sales. She was later appointed to lead the company's focus on growth in emerging international markets. As well as serving on the executive committee of SCI America, she is a member of the US-India CEO Forum, the Business Council, and is co-chair of the National Academy of Engineering Committee on Changing the Conversation: From Research to Action.

Ms Kullman is on the board of trustees of Tufts University and serves on the board of overseers at Tufts University School of Engineering. She holds a BSc in mechanical engineering from Tufts University and a masters degree in management from Northwestern University.

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