Dupont Co., the third largest U.S. chemical company, announced that Ellen Kullman will take over as chief executive officer from Charles Holliday starting January 1, 2009
The board also named Kullman president and director of Dupont, effective October 1, 2008.
"I think it's a savvy move," Gene Pisasale, of PNC Capital Advisors in Baltimore, told Bloomberg News. "Having a woman as a C.E.O. of a major chemical company will be quite interesting because many of the products they sell are bought by women."
Kullman will eventually take over Holliday's position as chairman as well.
Kullman, an executive vice president at the chemical maker, has been groomed for the C.E.O. position for years, analysts say, and announcement of promotion came with little surprise.
"This gets the succession planning sorted out," HSBC analyst Hassan Ahmed told Reuters. "Its a good move to bring in Ellen, considering that she is already running most of the segments of the company."
"Having transformed the company, increased our profitability and returns, and developed a talented and strong next generation of leaders, now is the right time to make a seamless transition to new leadership," added Holliday in a statement published by the Associated Press.
Kullman joined Dupont in 1988 from General Electric. From 2002 to 2006, she served as group vice president of Dupont's safety and protection unit. Revenue during her tenure there increased from $3.5 billion to $5.5 billion.
Kullman will become the 19th chief executive officer of the 206-year-old chemical maker based in Wilmington, Delaware, according to AP.
Holliday, 60, ran Dupont for 10 years.