Ellen Kullman becomes DuPont's first woman CEO in 206 years

DuPont has appointed its first ever woman CEO in its 206-year history.

The DuPont board of directors elected 52-year Ellen Kullman president and a director of the company effective 1 October and CEO effective 1 January 2009 to succeed from Charles Holliday, who headed the US chemical giant for over 10 years and will now serve as chairman of DuPont and as a member of the board until Kullman's expected succession as chairman.

Ellen Kullman The elevation makes Kullman one of the most powerful women in US industry and had recently been named by Forbes as one of the world's 100 most powerful women.

''Ellen is ready to lead DuPont's market-driven strategy for faster growth,'' Chad said. ''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 is the 19th executive to lead the company in DuPont's 206-year history. Since June 2006, she has served as an executive vice president and a member of the company's office of the chief executive, with responsibility for four of DuPont's five business segments and its marketing and sales and environmental sustainability functions. 

From February 2002 to June 2006 as group vice president of the then-newly formed DuPont safety and protection segment, Ellen led revenue growth from $3.5 billion to $5.5 billion.