UT Knoxville, ’70
Part of the Tennessee Alumnus’ 100 Distinguished Alumni feature.
After graduating from UT Knoxville in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, Nashville native Charles “Chad” Holliday took a summer job at DuPont’s site in Old Hickory, Tennessee.
He turned that summer job into a full-time engineering job and, over the next 28 years, worked his way up in manufacturing and supervisory positions around the world. In 1998, he became DuPont’s CEO.
Throughout his career, Holliday has preached the marriage of good business and sound environmental practices. And he’s walked the walk to back up his talk.
“I think we need to take back the trust that we’ve lost along the way,” he once said in an interview. “But we have to do it by the right action, not just talk. We have to do the right things for the right reasons.”
Guiding DuPont’s shift from being a chemical manufacturer to a science-based products and services company, Holliday raised the company’s economical sustainability while improving its positive impact on the environment.
Holliday retired from DuPont in 2008 and, a year later, was elected to the board of directors of Bank of America, serving as chairman from 2010 to 2014. In 2015, he became chairman of Royal Dutch Shell.
He also serves on the boards of C2HMHill, Hospital Corporation of America and the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils. He chairs the Executive Committee for United Nations Sustainable Energy for All. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Holliday co-chaired the Tickle College of Engineering’s effort for the Campaign for Tennessee and serves on the Development Council board. He has received the Nathan Dougherty Award, the college’s highest honor, and a Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate in engineering.