DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman made a lot of tough decisions in 2009 during her first full year as CEO -- 14,500 of them to be precise. That's how many employees the company had to lay off to cope with plummeting profits over most of the year.
For Kullman, who got her start with DuPont 22 years ago in its X-Ray film business, the tough decisions paid off. Despite the recession, sales from new products made up a record 40% of revenues.
Kullman is looking to that bright development to inform this year's agenda, which has a heavy focus on innovation, with DuPont developing everything from a newly-engineered soybean to solar-powered boat materials.
NEXT: Mary F. Sammons