Charles O. Holliday, Jr., is the former chairman of the board of directors (1999–2009) and chief executive officer (1998–2008) of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., where he began his career in 1970 as an engineer. During the 1970s and 1980s he worked in nearly every branch of the company, serving as a business analyst for the fibers operations, director of marketing for pigments and chemicals, and global business director of Kevlar and Nomex. In 1990 he was named vice president and then president of DuPont’s Asia Pacific operations. He became senior vice president in 1992 and executive vice president and a member of the office of chief executive in 1995. Fortune Magazine named him one of “Tomorrow’s CEOs” in 1996 and the following year he was elected director and then president of DuPont.
Under Mr. Holliday’s direction, DuPont established the mission to achieve sustainable growth—increasing shareholder and societal value while decreasing the company’s environmental footprint. The company had a three-part strategy: deliver new products through the power of integrated science, vigorously pursue knowledge intensity in all businesses, and significantly increase productivity by using Six Sigma methodology. He coauthored Walking the Talk, which details the business case for sustainable development and corporate responsibility.
Mr. Holliday was elected to the NAE in 2004 for his leadership in DuPont’s transformation to sustainable growth through biotechnology, high-performance materials, improved safety, and consumer protection. He was elected chair of the National Academy of Engineering in 2012. He chaired the NRC Committee on Research Universities and served on the NRC Committee on America’s Climate Choices.
Mr. Holliday has chaired the board of directors of Bank of America since 2010, and has served as a director since September 2009. He is also a director of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and a presiding director of Deere & Company. He is chairman emeritus of Catalyst, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for women and business; and chairman emeritus of the US Council on Competitiveness. He is a founding member of the International Business Council. He also previously served as chairman of the following organizations: the Business Roundtable’s Task Force for Environment, Technology and Economy; the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; the Business Council; and the Society of Chemical Industry–American Section. He served on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, and is a senior member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers.
He is a licensed professional engineer (PE) and graduated with a BS degree in industrial engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1970. He has also received several honorary doctorates.