Fortune 500 CEOs©

"Irv Shapiro led not only the Dupont Company, . . . his business sense and compassion were united as he led other business leaders to join him in pursuit of improving the lives of everyone he touched. . . He was a statesman and a gentleman."

Sept. 11, 2001 Obituary Statement of Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner

". . .there are few business leaders recognized throughout the country for probity and integrity in the way such leaders as Edward Filene, who headed the department store empire, Irving Shapiro, the head of Duport, Walter Wriston of Citibank, and John Whitehead of Goldman Sachs, were recognized as being spokespersons for a set of realistic, intelligent, public spirited values."

Arthur Levitt, former SEC Chairman

The selection of Irving Shapiro to head Dupont Corporation was a watershed moment in the history of Jews as CEOs of major U.S. Corporations. His appointment was seen to have broken a cultural logjam. It made Wall Street Journal headlines on December 14, 1973 and Shapiro was soon regarded as a prominent "business establishment" figure. For many, he was seen as "the first Jew to achieve such stature in a major corporation not founded or purchased by Jews."

Shapiro's selection was remarkable on many counts. In the 171 years since its founding by French immigrant Eleuth̩re Ir̩n̩e (E.I.) du Pont in 1802, the Company was headed only by succeeding generations of Dupont family members. Further, Shapiro was neither an entrepreneur, nor was he trained as a manager. He did not, as was common in post World War II America, work his way up the organization chart through the rungs of operational, sales, and staff jobs....

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