Profit growth rank: 2
Ellen Kullman took over the top spot at DuPont in 2009 from a CEO who did much to rejigger DuPont -- buying seed company Pioneer, for instance, and selling off DuPont's textiles business -- but little to show a clear, profitable path forward. That role fell to Kullman, a mechanical engineer by training, who very quickly has shown how DuPont's far-flung assets can be made to work together. Her secret, in part: innovating and bringing to market new products at a faster clip. Nearly 40% of DuPont's 2009 revenues came from products that were introduced in the past five years -- double the rate of just a few years ago. Kullman expects the 70 research centers the company operates around the world to keep the new stuff coming, especially food-related products (DuPont is the world's second-largest seed company), alternative energy, and synthetic materials like Kevlar. DuPont stock is up 41% this year, outpacing all but Caterpillar in the Dow Jones industrial average. Even better, she is delivering -- and then some -- on the commitment she made one year ago to increase earnings over the next three years by an annual compound rate of 20%. She's on pace to shatter that mark this year, when earnings per share will probably increase by more than 50%.
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