WILMINGTON, Del.—Ellen Kullman is stepping down as CEO and chairman of DuPont Co. on Oct. 16, while the Wilmington-based chemical giant has decreased its earnings outlook for the year.
Edward Breen, who led Tyco International out of bankruptcy and joined the DuPont board of directors earlier this year, was named interim chairman and CEO.
“With a strong foundation in place, now is the right time for a new leader to continue to drive the pace of change to capitalize fully on the opportunity ahead,” the 59-year-old Kullman said in an Oct. 5 news release.
In the same release, DuPont noted that it expects its earnings per share for the full year to be $2.75, down from prior guidance of $3.10. It blamed the strengthening of the U.S. dollar vs. currencies in emerging markets, particularly the Brazilian real. The value of the real has dropped 60 percent year-over-year compared to the dollar.
DuPont also put part of the issue on Brazil's weakening agriculture sector.
Kullman has been with DuPont for 27 years and led the company as it spun off its fluoropolymers and titanium dioxide business into a separate public company, Chemours, earlier this year.
She also won a proxy fight in May with activist investor Trian Fund Management LP and its founder Nelson Peltz.
During that proxy fight, DuPont named Breen and James Gallogly, the former CEO of LyondellBasell Industries NV, as independent directors to the board.
As interim CEO and chairman, Breen is “well suited to lead the company while the board completes its search for the next executive to lead DuPont,” said Alexander Cutler, lead independent director on the DuPont board, in a statement.