Edward Jefferson came to be known as a business leader through Dupont Corporation, where he used his background in chemistry to introduce the company to the life sciences, undertaking corporate research projects in related fields.
Edward Jefferson – Transforming the Dupont Corporation
Jefferson changed the way Dupont did business by introducing changes in management, operations, and research and development.
Jefferson graduated with a Ph.D. from Kings College, University of London. He joined Dupont as a chemist in 1951, after which he worked himself up to a managerial position. He oversaw many of the Corporation’s core businesses, including plastics and polymers. In 1973, he became a director and member of the Corporation’s Executive Committee.
In 1980, he became the president and CEO of Corporation and, the following year became its chairman. In 1981, he initiated the merger with Conoc Inc., a petroleum company.
This move raised some eyebrows in the industry among those that did not know that Jefferson was merely taking the long view with the acquisition, which gave Dupont Corporation a steady supply of oil and gas for all its requirements. In the end, Jefferson was proven right since the acquisition firmly established the company as an industry leader.
In 1982, Dupont Pharmaceuticals was formed, mostly due to the fact that Jefferson believed the life sciences would bring the company forward, and that research and development were crucial to maintaining the Corporation’s success.
Jefferson was a unique business leader because he was skilled and knowledgeable in science and technology, but was also highly adept in managing a business. With this mix of knowledge and business savvy, it comes as no surprise that he remained successful in his field.
He retired in 1986 but left a legacy that cannot be forgotten. Although he was forced to downsize the company following the recession of the 1980s, he still made plans to keep the company moving forward. In the last few years of Jefferson’s term as CEO, biotechnology was one of the things Dupont invested in.
The Edward Jefferson Quick Bio
Full name: Edward Graham Jefferson
Company: Dupont Corporation
Industry: Chemicals – Industrial
Key success traits: meticulous, hardworking, book smarts combined with managerial skill
During the Second World War, Jefferson served in the Royal Artillery. Even early on in his career, Jefferson would work twelve hours a day since he loved working at Dupont so much.