Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DuPont Succession Issues

DuPont (DD) announced that its board of directors has elected Ellen J. Kullman, 52, president and a director of the company effective Oct. 1 and chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2009. Charles O. Holliday, Jr., 60, chairman and CEO, will serve as chairman of DuPont and as a member of the board until Kullman's expected succession as chairman.

The press release went on to highlight Ellen Kullman’s recent accomplishments with DuPont. They are clearly impressive. Here is the problem. It’s not with the people it’s with the process.

“Kullman’s expected succession as chairman” The implied comment is that this will eventually happen and is all in the works. What about governance, shareholder meetings and votes? Where is the shareholders voice? Why does such a large company feel the need for one individual to hold the three positions of Chairman, President and CEO?

Modern governance for quite some time has suggested enlightened companies separate the two positions. DuPont shareholders should be insisting on leading edge best practices. Not one person in charge of everything.