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DuPont CEO Says ‘Change Is in Our DNA’


DuPont is well-positioned to deliver dynamic innovations to meet the evolving market demand because “change is in our DNA,” said DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman at the 13th Annual Wharton Leadership Conference held yesterday in Philadelphia, Pa.

“There is no playbook for what the world is experiencing right now, but several leadership principles have surfaced in our experience at DuPont and seem particularly appropriate to the dynamic and uncertain conditions we currently face today,” Ellen said.

According to Ellen, four leadership principles have emerged at DuPont:

* Focus on what you can control
* Adopt a new trajectory
* Communicate
* Maintain pride around your mission

During its 207 years, DuPont has evolved through three transformations, emerging stronger each time as the company continues to innovate through economic downturns. Ellen noted that nylon was discovered during the Great Depression.

“None of that happened by accident,” Ellen said. “It took leaders who had a vision and were absolutely determined to not waste a good crisis.”

Today, DuPont continues its legacy of delivering innovation during challenging times. DuPont’s R&D is focused on three major global “megatrends”:

* The need for increasing food productivity
* Decreasing dependence on fossil fuels
* Protecting lives

“At DuPont, we have often been successful by stepping out of our comfort zone and adopting a new trajectory,” Ellen said. “We are not afraid to aggressively pursue fundamental change, whether it is new business models, new scientific or technological platforms, or other basic change.”

“In the new economic reality, DuPont continues to deliver market-back science to make the world a better and safer place,” she said. “We must be prepared not for the world the way it was before the recession, but prepare to succeed in the very different world that we’ll encounter when the recovery eventually comes.”


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