DuPont CEO Kullman steps down, company lowers guidance

Edward Breen, who was named to DuPont’s board in February, will serve as Kullman’s interim replacement while the company searches for a permanent successor. DuPont will report its third-quarter financial results on October. 27.


She said at the time that she wasn’t done and that the company had more work to do.

Ellen Kullman abrupt resignation as chairman and chief executive officer of DuPont Co., stepping down as an activist shareholder appeared ready to reignite a battle to break up the 213-year-old company.

DuPont is also speeding up cost cuts to counter weakening sales, saying it has redesigned a few operations and is now targeting about $1.6 billion in annual savings by the end of 2017.

Kullman, 59, joined the company more than 27 years ago and has been its CEO since 2009. “As our Chair and CEO, Ellen led DuPont through the global recession and the dramatic transformation of the last several years with the highest standard of integrity and commitment”, said Cutler.

In May, Kullman defeated efforts by Peltz, the billionaire chairman of restaurant chain Wendy’s, to win board seats. In the spring, the company fought off a proxy fight from billionaire investor Nelson Peltz.

On Monday, DuPont also slashed its full-year earnings forecast to about $2.75 per share from the prior $3.10 estimate.

The company’s shares rose 4.9 percent to $53.79 in extended trading. It did not detail its actions but said it would finalize its cost-cutting plans in the fourth quarter.

Peltz and his partner Ed Garden “have a longstanding relationship” with Immelt, they said. “We’ll be looking at decisions [in R&D] and whether those still make sense in the market environment we’re dealing with today”, he said. The board of directors probably pushed Kullman out because of the failure to meet predicted profit, Jim Sheehan, an Atlanta-based analyst at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey Inc., said in an interview.


Ms. Kullman’s seven-year tenure atop DuPont was bookended by tumult. DuPont finished spinning off the performance chemicals unit in July, after Ms. Kullman and her team prevailed over Mr. Peltz and Trian in a May 13 shareholder vote that went down to the wire.

DuPont CEO Kullman Retiring Effective Oct. 16